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.


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

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Reader's comments (1)

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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

British dean of US business school also questions the ‘strange’ trend of increasing regulation while reducing state funding in the UK sector