Thursday, 2 July 2009

Letter to Chair fo Board of Governors, Peter Anwyl

Dear Mr Anwyl,

We are writing to you today to ask you to reconsider the impact of decisions made by the Board of Governors of which you are Chair. It is unfortunate that we have to do so in such a public manner but since you have consistently refused to meet us or respond to our letters, we have no option but to do this.

We did not expect you to agree with everything that we put forward but we did believe that as reasonable governors you would wish to listen to as many sources of information as possible before making decisions that threaten the viability and academic integrity of the whole institution. We now know, however, that through its ‘lack of oversight’, the Board of Governors has already brought London Met to the brink of closure. We fear that, in a very different way, you will be doing it again.

The loss of so many posts, and the race to impose the first wave of jobs by the end of this month in such an obsessively hurried and ill-thought-through manner, threatens much of the best of London Met. Our reputation has already suffered near-terminal damage: revelations about management and reporting failures have made us a laughing stock. Nonetheless, we retain a high reputation for widening participation and for many of our courses. This academic reputation is now threatened by the race to get rid of staff regardless of impact and the cavalier disregard for quality assurance.

What is more, the job losses appear to be based on the risible and thoroughly discredited ‘strategic plan’ drawn up in secret by management last summer. The authors of this plan are precisely those in whom DIUS, HEFCE, staff and students (indeed, everyone except yourselves and Alfred Morris) have expressed a complete lack of confidence. It is not surprising that HEFCE refuses to fund it, that students are protesting about it and that staff see no point in sacrificing themselves in order to see it implemented.

We have finally established some dialogue with Alfred Morris and we still cling to the hope that you and he will see fit to halt all redundancies planned for the end of July. However, at the moment, staff are facing horrendous questionnaires asking them to ‘justify their existence’ in order to retain a job. We wondered whether governors were prepared to undergo a similar exercise. To that end, we enclose a questionnaire about your own activities on behalf of London Met.

We would be delighted to meet you to discuss the future of the university at any time.

Yours sincerely,

Cliff Snaith (UCU)

Amanda Sackur (UCU)

Mark Campbell (UCU)

Allan Pike (UNISON)

Max Watson (UNISON)