Guardian letter

Tuition fee ‘gold rush’ behind Coventry crisis

(The Guardian, 29 September 2016)

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The decision by the Government in 2014 to remove caps on student numbers created a gold rush in the English university sector.

Unscrupulous university managers are adopting some of the worst private sector tactics to chase £9,000 tuition fees and pay staff as little as they can.

Aditya Chakrabortty reports on the abuse of outsourcing, zero-hour contracts and agency worker tricks at Coventry University to deny staff basic employment rights – never mind the academic freedom that the University was established to defend.

Coventry University management must be exposed and stopped. But it is not alone. London Metropolitan University is sacking a third of its lecturers and hiring staff to replace them on zero-hour contracts. Meanwhile Leicester and Hull are engaging in targeted redundancies. In the case of Hull FE College one of the targets is the UCU National President, Rob Goodfellow. In the Russell Group, research-active professors are ‘encouraged’ to retire early – scientific research brings in a fifth of the return on investment that a low-paid teacher can.

There is a crisis in the English HE sector, and it is set to get worse. The Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill does what TTIP has so far failed to do: to permit new private for-profit providers to enter the sector with little real scrutiny. It will intensify competition in a race to the bottom that Coventry shows has already begun.

Universities are far more than degree factories. They must also be where the future is forged, places of critique and imagination. They must be accessible to all who can benefit.

It is time that all who care about our sector united for a Higher Education worthy of the name. We are organising the Third Convention for Higher Education at University College London on 15 October.

If you care about the future of Higher Education in the UK, join us.

Sean Wallis (University College London, joint editor of the Alternative White Paper for HE)
Prof John Holmwood (Nottingham University and Campaign for the Public University, joint editor of the AWP)
Tom Hickey (Brighton University and Council for the Defence of British Universities, joint editor of the AWP)
Rachel Cohen (City, University of London and UCU NEC, joint editor of the AWP)
Mark Campbell (Former London Metropolitan University UCU rep)
Sherrill Stroschein (UCL and CDBU)
Lee Jones (Queen Mary, University of London and CPU)
Prof Des Freedman (Goldsmiths UCU president)
Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL UCU president)
Carlo Morelli (Dundee University)
Prof Howard Hotson (Oxford University)
Adrian Budd (London South Bank University)
Sam Marsh (Sheffield University)
Prof James Ladyman (University of Bristol)
Prof Warwick Gould (Institute of English Studies, University of London (retd.))
Kevin McSorley (University of Portsmouth)
Prof Adam Gearey (Birkbeck)
Christina Paine (London Metropolitan University UCU secretary)
Eugene Nulman (Birmingham City University)
Ina Friesen (University of Kent)
Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University)
Julie Hearn (Lancaster University and UCU NEC)
Ioana Cerasella Chis (University of Birmingham)
Prof Pauline Foster (St. Mary’s University)
Prof Kevin Clements (University of Otago)
Robert Webber (De Montfort University)
Kerry Harman (Birkbeck)
Stacy Gillis (Newcastle University)
Jacqui Rodgers (Newcastle University)
Felix Robin Schulz (Newcastle University)
Dr Ian Thompson (Newcastle University)
Ian Hunt (Goldsmiths)
Prof Karen Corrigan (Newcastle University)
Nadia Edmond (University of Brighton, Falmer UCU branch chair)
Ben Davies (University of Portsmouth)
Prof Thomas Docherty (Warwick University)
Dr Carol Azumah Dennis (University of Hull)
Luke Martell (University of Sussex)
Xanthe Whittaker (University of Leicester and UCU NEC)
Simon Cross (Nottingham Trent University)
Stephen Bates (University of Birmingham)
Michael Rosie (University of Edinburgh)
Gabriel Newfield (University of Hertfordshire (ex Pro-Director, Hertfordshire Polytechnic, retd.))
David Brewster (University of the West of England)
Prof Willy Maley (University of Glasgow)
Mirna Solic (University of Glasgow)
Jerry Goodenough (UEA)
Prof Richard Hall (De Montfort University)
Prof Maggie Humm (University of East London (retd.))
Prof Chris Jones (Liverpool John Moores)
Prof Bob Brecher (University of Brighton)
Prof Barry Smart (University of Portsmouth)
Marian Mayer (Bournemouth University, UCU vice chair)
Lucy Pearson (Newcastle University)
Martin Farr (Newcastle University)
Billie Loebner (Middlesex University)
Prof Judith Suissa (UCL Institute of Education)
Gayle Selby (Coventry University)
Dr Philip Morgan (Keele University)
Liz Morrish (Independent scholar)
James Sumner (University of Manchester)
Sophie Coulombeau (Cardiff University)
Elizabeth Edwards (University of Wales)
Sheila McTighe (Courtauld Institute of Art, Univ. of London)
John Bates (University of Glasgow)
Kyran Joughin (University of the Arts London, UCU secretary)
Anne-Marie Kramer (University of Nottingham)
Jeremy Titman (University of Nottingham)
Dr Maria Ryan (University of Nottingham)
Martin Findell (University of Nottingham)
Richard Field (University of Nottingham)
Prof Stephen Hodkinson (University of Nottingham)
Daria Davitti (University of Nottingham)
Dermot Lynott (Lancaster University)
Pauline Jas (University of Nottingham)
Nick Mount (University of Nottingham)
Alyson McLintock (University of Nottingham)
Phil Verllender (London South Bank University) ()
Lesley Kane (Open University, UCU branch secretary)
Dr Douglas Howcroft (University of Nottingham)
Catherine Adams (Nottingham Trent University, UCU rep)
Dr Marci Green (University of Wolverhampton)
Luke Robinson (University of Sussex)
Nayia Kamenou (De Montfort University)
Dr Stephen Cowden (Coventry University, UCU chair)
Gordon Asher (University of the West of Scotland)
Lyubomira Gramcheva (University of Nottingham)
Prof Patrick Ainley (University of Greenwich)
Dr David K Hardman (Ex-London Metropolitan University, Chair of London Region UCU)
Maria Daskalaki (Kingston University)
Maria Marlow (University of Nottingham)
Jeremy Page (University of Sussex)
Caroline Ruddell (Brunel University)
Vivian Penney (University of Nottingham)
Simon Grimble (Durham University)
Tracey Hill (Bath Spa University, UCU branch chair)
Pamela Kea (University of Sussex)
Bahadur Najak (Durham University (retd.))
Professor Mark Addis (St Mary’s University)
Karoline Wiesner (University of Bristol)
Jo McNeill (University of Liverpool, UCU Branch President and UCU NEC )
Kathleen O’Donnell (Oxford Brookes University)
Manjeet Ramgotra (SOAS University of London)
Anne Reimers (University for the Creative Arts)
Professor Karen Evans (UCL)
Professor Patrick Ainley (University of Greenwich)
Robin Leslie (Independent Scholar)
Professor Natalie Fenton (Goldsmiths)
Valerie Coultas (Kingston University)
Christel Schneider (University of East London)

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About Sean

Senior Research Fellow, Survey of English Usage, University College London
This entry was posted in HE BIll, solidarity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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