[NetBehaviour] Fw: brutal job and course cuts where I work -please sign the petition

ruth catlow ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org
Wed Apr 11 12:32:42 CEST 2018

Hi Michael,

This unbelievably depressing turn of events is the culmination of a 
series of destructive and wasteful actions taken by the senior 
management team at Writtle College over the last 5 years.

The extraordinary quality of teaching and research staff was recognised 
in Writtle's first 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework submission and 
in Quality Assurance Agency reports. Back in 2010 Writtle Art and Design 
course was listed in the top 10 Arts BAs on offer in the country.

In addition to the personal hardship for staff and students that will 
flow from this action, a wonderful opportunity to establish an exemplar 
of 21st century higher education has been lost. The vision, enthusiasm, 
and resources were there, to grow a unique educational institution that 
would develop interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research across 
agriculture, animal sciences, sustainable environments, arts, landscape 
architecture and design. At this time of global environmental and 
political stress this institution would have given its students the best 
chance to thrive, while shaping and contributing to progressive future 
cultures and economies.

It's hard to interpret the torrents of small acts of sabotage against 
the courses in the School of Design over the years as anything other 
than capricious. I was Head of the Writtle School of Design 2011-14 and 
was haunted for years after I left, by the ineptitude and lack of 
ambition I witnessed within senior management and governance processes: 
failure to commit to the state college mission and values, and a failure 
to realise and build on the value of the academic community.

I'm so sorry that the staff and students are now going to have to suffer 
yet another stressful onslaught and wish them well in all actions to 
resist and/or rebuild.


On 10/04/18 23:42, Michael Szpakowski wrote:
> Big thanks to both of you Marc and Rob! Much appreciated! Michael
> Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://yho.com/footer0>
> On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 11:21 pm, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
>     Signed.
>     Funny not funny how the people who are the most obsessed with an
>     aesthetic of businesslike behaviour are the least able of
>     identifying those courses that most add to their bottom line.
>     - Rob.
>     On Tue, 10 Apr 2018, at 3:14 PM, marc.garrett via NetBehaviour wrote:
>>     Hi Michael,
>>     I have signed it but will add comments tomorrow when I've got
>>     more time - they are utter scum.
>>     wishing you & those losing their jobs well.
>>     marc
>>     Marc Garrett
>>     Co-Founder, Co-Director and main editor of Furtherfield.
>>     Art, technology and social change, since 1996
>>     http://www.furtherfield.org
>>     Furtherfield Gallery & Commons in the park
>>     Finsbury Park, London N4 2NQ
>>     http://www.furtherfield.org/gallery
>>     <http://www.furtherfield.org/gallery>
>>     Currently writing a PhD at Birkbeck University, London
>>     https://birkbeck.academia.edu/MarcGarrett
>>     Just published: Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain
>>     Eds, Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, Nathan Jones, & Sam Skinner
>>     Liverpool Press - http://bit.ly/2x8XlMK
>>     Sent with ProtonMail <https://protonmail.com> Secure Email.
>>     ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
>>     On 10 April 2018 8:50 PM, Michael Szpakowski
>>     <m at michaelszpakowski.org> wrote:
>>>     Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://yho.com/footer0>
>>>     Begin forwarded message:
>>>     On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 8:27 pm, Michael Szpakowski
>>>     <m at michaelszpakowski.org> wrote:
>>>         Thanks so much Gill!
>>>         Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://yho.com/footer0>
>>>         On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 7:42 pm, Gill Davies
>>>         <gill.davies at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>             Signed, Michael.  Best of luck.
>>>             On 10 April 2018 at 19:38, Michael Szpakowski
>>>             <m at michaelszpakowski.org
>>>             <mailto:m at michaelszpakowski.org>> wrote:
>>>                 And for those of you who have a connection with the
>>>                 course and with Writtle, please leave a comment...If
>>>                 you're an artist or writer &c any sort also please
>>>                 identify yourself... :)
>>>                 I'm pasting below my sig the motion passed today nem
>>>                 con in our UCU branch meeting..
>>>                 Please also tweet, FB, e mail...
>>>                 thanks!
>>>                 Michael
>>>                 Sign the Petition
>>>                 <https://www.change.org/p/tessmaths1-gmail-com-defend-education-at-writtle-university-college-no-to-course-cuts-no-to-redundancies/share_for_starters?just_created=true>
>>>                     Sign the Petition
>>>                 tessmaths1 at gmail.com: Defend Education at Writtle
>>>                 university College! No to course cuts, no to
>>>                 redundancies!
>>>                 This branch *feels* a sense of déjà vu.
>>>                 This branch *notes *that whilst members, other
>>>                 teachers and support staff were conscientiously
>>>                 doing their usual best the entire senior management
>>>                 team /failed/.
>>>                 /Failed/to see any problem coming, /failed/ to open
>>>                 up any sort of discussion and /failed/ to show any
>>>                 concern for staff as evidenced by the inept and
>>>                 cold-blooded way in which a package of course cuts
>>>                 and job losses was presented as a fait accompli, the
>>>                 day before the Easter holiday weekend.
>>>                 This branch *notes *the Vice Chancellor’s highly
>>>                 insulting comment
>>>                 “/We have not driven the business to achieve
>>>                 excellence – our portfolio, in HE especially, is too
>>>                 broad for us to be outstanding in all fields of study/”
>>>                 (‘Strategic Change Agenda’ p3 bullet point three)
>>>                 This branch *notes* that the VC and presumably the
>>>                 SMT believes that Writtle University College is a
>>>                 ‘business’(ibid.) rather than an educational
>>>                 institution.
>>>                 This branch *notes *the hugely successful campaign
>>>                 waged by our colleagues in the pre 1992 universities
>>>                 to defend their pension rights and also the recent
>>>                 no-confidence vote by Open University UCU members in
>>>                 their vice chancellor when faced with a similar
>>>                 package of cuts, a similar rationale and similarly
>>>                 insulting language.
>>>                 This branch *believes* in education.
>>>                 This branch *believes *that the entire SLT at
>>>                 Writtle has /failed, /we have *no confidence* in it
>>>                 and therefore *resolve* to call upon all its members
>>>                 to resign forthwith and for the governors to replace
>>>                 it with a team which believes that the 100 year plus
>>>                 educational legacy of Writtle deserves celebrating
>>>                 and defending, rather than yet another round of cuts.
>>>                 This branch further *resolves* to call upon the
>>>                 governors to withdraw the cuts and closure proposal
>>>                 by the end of this week. If the package is not
>>>                 withdrawn then a dispute will exist between the UCU
>>>                 and WUC and we will seek permission to ballot for
>>>                 industrial action.
>>>                 This branch *resolves* to inform students of what is
>>>                 happening, both directly and through the NUS and to
>>>                 seek their active support for a public campaign
>>>                 against the cuts package including, but not limited
>>>                 to, social media and a Change.org petition.
>>>                 In addition we *resolve* to seek common ground in
>>>                 fighting the cuts with our colleagues in other WUC
>>>                 unions and other UCU branches.
>>>                 Passed nem. con.
>>>                 ______________________________ _________________
>>>                 NetBehaviour mailing list
>>>                 NetBehaviour at lists. netbehaviour.org
>>>                 <mailto:NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
>>>                 https://lists.netbehaviour. org/mailman/listinfo/
>>>                 netbehaviour
>>>                 <https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour>
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