Friends, not foes

March 30, 2007

The issues confronting lecturers and researchers are more complex than you allow ("Hunt faces rough ride from Left on NEC", March 23).

The commercialisation and commodification of higher learning and the indebtedness of graduates continue to have a corrosive effect on the quality of provision.JThey damage the student experience, the coherence of courses, the contractual security and wellbeing of staff and the ambit of universities.J None of the existing or recently elected representatives and officers of the University and College Union is careless of these effects.

Naturally, on UCU's national executive there are differences of analysis and explanation, and of appropriate action. These, however,are not differences of principle.J Those of us on the Left see current threats from privatisation and "rationalisation" in further and higher education as consequences of wider government policies that are hostile to community and social provision.

Others on the NEC, either consciously or implicitly, disagree.J That makes us disputants over strategy and tactics.JIt does not make us enemies.

Tom Hickey
Brighton University and UCU National Executive Council

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