Reinstate sacked University of Bolton staff

April 27, 2015

Dear Sir,

The dismissal of Damien and Jennifer Markey by the University of Bolton has rightly received significant press attention. The university’s actions in this matter have been nothing short of outrageous.

The pair were dismissed with minimal investigation, for allegedly leaking information to the press about potential misuse of public funding by university management - a charge which they both deny. There are serious concerns about the university’s handling of the process; the Markeys were not given appropriate notice prior to their disciplinary hearings, and much of the evidence presented against them was subjective and taken out of context. For example, a factor in Damien’s dismissal related to contentious questions which he raised about spending decisions and material shortages. However, these were agreed in advance by a number of staff members as part of a formal review process. The university’s cynical reaction has grave implications for academic freedom.

The journalists who broke the stories in question have since denied that the Markeys were the source of the information, and it has been highlighted that much of the allegedly leaked information is publically available on the university website. It is our view that Damien and Jennifer Markey were singled out by the university leadership because of their trade union activity. As a branch secretary for the University and College Union (UCU), Damien has been vocal in expressing concerns about university policies, but public institutions must be accountable and dissent should not mean dismissal.

We urge the vice-chancellor and the university governors to urgently reinstate Damien and Jennifer Markey; this attempt to silence criticism cannot be tolerated.

Yours,

Liz Lawrence
President, University and College Union

Jane Lovatt
University of Bolton,

Neill Gorton
University of Bolton

Nicola Graham-Kevan
University of Central Lancashire

Malcolm Povey
University of Leeds

Richard Hudson
University College London

Eric Olson
University of Sheffield

Will Kaufman
University of Central Lancashire

Willy Maley
University of Glasgow

Stephen Constantine
Lancaster University

Philippa Browning
University of Manchester

Gregory Woods
Nottingham Trent University

Frank Chambers
University of Gloucestershire

Julian Williams
University of Manchester

Dan Rigby
University of Manchester

Toby Knowles
University of Bristol

Michael Loughlin
Manchester Metropolitan University

Alan Rice
University of Central Lancashire

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Has there been a response to these allegations by the vice-chancellor and the university governors?

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