Mistakes and potatoes

November 27, 2014

It is difficult to credit events at Swansea University’s School of Management. The Family Piercy have been in post for more than 18 months, a period characterised by a significant number of staff resignations and by widespread staff and student unrest. Now we read that a newly appointed pro vice-chancellor has had, on behalf of the university, to issue an apology and to refer his findings to Nigel Piercy’s line manager (“ ‘Potatoes goin’ to potate’, says Swansea dean in a dig at critics”, News, 20 November). What has this line manager been doing for the best part of the past two years since the decline and crisis in the School of Management became public knowledge?

The departure of the Piercys now appears to be a prerequisite if the School of Management is to recover its academic standing, but those who failed to monitor and to curb the excesses of the Piercys should take their share of the blame as well.

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How dare Nigel Piercy insult the esteemed potato, especially as people have died defending it. In the 872-day ordeal of Leningrad under siege in the Second World War, scientists starved while protecting from frost and rats about 2,500 types of potato collected from around the world by the Soviet plant geneticist Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov and his co-workers.

R. E. Rawles
Honorary research fellow in psychology
University College London

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