University of Warwick Protest Begins

Letter to the Vice-Chancellor

On the morning of the 17th of June 2013, Protect the Public University – Warwick sent the following email to Warwick University’s Vice Chancellor Nigel Thrift. The following members of staff were also copied in:

Ken Sloan, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer
Jo Horsburgh, Deputy Registrar
Peter Dunn, Head of Communications
Rachel Moy, Faculty Secretary and PA to Chris Hughes (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education (Innovation, Employability and Widening Participation))
Kerry Drakeley, PA to Professor Ann Caesar (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education (Quality and Standards))
Monica Necic, PA to the Finance Director and Office Manager
Jade Perkins, PA to Professor Lawrence Young (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (Life Sciences and Medicine) and Capital Development)

Dear Nigel Thrift,

On Friday 14 June, a group of Warwick University students from Protect the Public University–Warwick occupied the University Council Chamber. We are opposed to the continuing marketization and privatization of higher education. One of our concerns is the extension of market logic into the management policies of this university. An example of this is the £42,000 net increase in your pay packet that the Remuneration Committee, of which you are a member, awarded to you in the year 2011/2012.

We are holding a meeting in this space for an indefinite length of time, to discuss the importance of the public university. We would like to invite you and other senior management members to join us in this meeting for further discussion.

We would be very grateful if you could read the statement we have released, and give consideration to our set of objectives.

We have gathered and are continuing to gather support. A list of our growing numbers can be found here. We invite you to join this list.

Sincerely,

Protect the Public University–Warwick

PROTECT THE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY – WARWICK: OBJECTIVES

1. That the Vice-Chancellor of this university publicly affirms a commitment to the protection and promotion of the public university. We suggest he starts by affiliating himself with the Campaign for the Public University or Council for the Defence of British Universities.

2. That the Vice-Chancellor relinquishes his unjustifiable pay increase, with the funds to be channeled into widening access. We suggest that a bursary is established for students from the local community.

3. That the university safeguards its staff, both academic and non-academic, against the government’s radical restructuring of higher education. This would include protection from staff losing their jobs, any further pay freezes or cuts, casual contracts, and outsourcing of contracts.

4. That the university must oppose the current lobbying by Russell Group representatives to abolish the tuition fee cap and reduce bursary commitments.

5. That the governance of the university should include greater and more diverse staff and student representation. To ensure this, a review that includes significant staff and student input should be initiated, so that existing asymmetries within the university’s governance may be rectified.

6.That the university resists the hollowing out of the public university through outsourcing to private companies, and remains the employer of all university staff. As a first step, university managers formerly employed by outsourcing giants, such as Serco, should have no involvement in decisions where there is potential for bias.

7. That the university recognises the legitimacy of our decision to hold this meeting in our university’s council chamber, and therefore no disciplinary or legal repercussions will ensue.

8.That the restricted access to the council chamber be lifted so that members of staff and students can be part of this dialogue.

Protect the Public University – Warwick is in constant session.

Join us:
http://www.protectthepublicuniversity.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/ppuwarwick

#PPUWarwick

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About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. A former musician, he studied computer technology and cultural theory before receiving a PhD in sociology from the University of Essex. His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, due 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK, a co-founder of Club Critical Theory and Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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