Category: Academic

wrong direction

After being dismissed ‘on grounds of redundancy’, Babis Magoulas and I took Queen Mary University of London at independent Employment Tribunals. Judge Foxwell heard the two cases and dismissed both. We then appealed, but only my appeal was upheld. I wrote 3 posts (here) criticising the Judgments in Magoulas v QMUL that, in my view, failed to serve justice. For a summary see “academic position, age discrimination and social justice“. I won’t rehearse again all arguments, but I was reminded today only of this one. In a piece where I claim that generating large surpluses at public Universities is wrong, I also suggested the Law should become clearer in demanding that Employers effecting dismissals should first demonstrate that their whole institution is in need of cost-cutting, since in the case of Babis, Queen Mary was operating on a surplus of £9-17M, claiming that its Medical School was £2M in deficit that justified the compulsory redundancies. I mention the above, because the new Head of School in my former department (who replaced this one) announced that the new Principal (who replaced this one) has made it clear he wants to increase the present £30M surplus to £50M…

The toxic environment has spread to many UK universities. Such spreading does not make it right. Colleagues need to organise, resist and revolt. (more…)

Για τον Φώτη Καφάτο

Πρώτη φορά γνώρισα τον Φώτη Καφάτο στο γραφείο του Ηλία Κούβελα, καθηγητή νευροφυσιολογίας (κάπου στο 1996 ή 1997), συναδέλφου της μητέρας μου στο τμήμα Ιατρικής του Πανεπιστημίου Πατρών. Ο Φώτης ήταν ήδη ιδιαίτερα γνωστός ως “ο νεότερος επιστήμονας στην ιστορία του Harvard που είχε λάβει τον τίτλο του καθηγητή” και ως ο πρώτος διευθυντής του Ινστιτούτου Μοριακής Βιολογίας και Βιοτεχνολογίας στο Ηράκλειο της Κρήτης. Ερχόταν όμως στην Πάτρα από τη Χαϊδελβέργη, όπου είχε αναλάβει τη διοίκηση του Ευρωπαϊκού Εργαστηρίου Μοριακής Βιολογίας (EMBL)!

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Apoyo a la Ciencia Experimental

Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto, Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos

Dr. José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público

Mtro. Aurelio Nuño Mayer, Secretario de Educación Pública

H. Congreso de la Unión

Dr. Enrique Cabrero Mendoza, Director del Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología

A la Comunidad Científica

A la Opinión Pública

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Hong Kong University Student Union article on Matthew Evans

I provide translation of an article published by Jason Tsui in Undergrad, HKUSU. The views represented are not mine, however the overall sentiment of this article agrees with my personal view of what a bad idea it was for the University of Hong Kong to offer a position of responsibility to someone with a track-record in dismantling successful academic departments. The article mentions that 30 colleagues were fired by the application of Evans’ restructuring criteria. In reality, 11 members of staff were declared at risk of redundancy (I was one). Possibly there was confusion with parallel recruitment adverts for 30 staff during the sacking of their peers or with voluntary departures to better-managed institutions, which eventually have risen the number of departures to almost 40 (without including departures of new staff that joined the School after 2012). The author also appears to have misunderstood that Prof John Allen’s claim for unfair dismissal was successful. Matthew Evans’ vindictive behaviour against John Allen ammounted to breach of contract. My petition for John Allen’s reinstatement stands.

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El águila y la serpiente

The eagle and the snake are a symbol on Mexico’s flag, whose origins are unclear (reminding me the origins of “gringo”). They are also the title of a revolutionary novel, written by Martín Luis Guzmán, published in 1928. The Mexican Academy of the Spanish Language asked Susana Quintanilla to compile a critical edition of El áquila y la serpiente. Today, she presented a moving account of the effort involved. During her talk, she showed what looked like a published book, although I couldn’t find evidence of its existence online.  I can only recommend, instead, her article in Letras Libres (in Spanish).

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