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October 29, 2009

Your article "UCU has 'duty to confront' lackadaisical academics" (22 October) provided a platform for Maurice Glasman to peddle specious views about the University and College Union's responsibilities that misconstrue the role of unions in general.

The UCU is expected by its members to provide advice, support and representation on issues related to their position as employees. The union also addresses members' professional concerns as educational practitioners.

Branches and local associations work with university human resources departments to develop capability procedures and staff-development programmes to help lecturers improve. The union encourages members to engage with staff-appraisal mechanisms to foster professional development and career progression. It has also dedicated considerable resources to promoting more democratic and accountable forms of university governance.

The UCU described by Glasman is one I barely recognised.

Ronald Mendel, UCU branch secretary, University of Northampton.

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