Show of team spirit or own goal?

July 15, 2005

Of all the own goals scored by arrogant university chiefs, I would like to nominate those responsible for Brunel University's "Open Letter" full-page advertisement for first prize (July 8).

The advert complains that the greylisting was decided ("requested" would surely be more accurate; I imagine that greylisting would have been decided by the Association of University Teachers' elected national executive body) at a branch meeting of only 50 people and that this means that "the majority of Brunel's academic community were given no opportunity to express their views". Excuse my astonishment, but does Brunel's senior management team canvass all staff views before it makes important decisions? Do its members get to vote in absentia when unable to attend meetings because of other commitments? Exactly who is the "Brunel University" that wrote the open letter? And, for that matter, who paid for the open letter - the university or just the individuals who wrote it?

If I am wrong and all employees are entitled to attend council and senior management team meetings at Brunel, and the open letter was collectively written by all university staff, and the advert (in the name of "Brunel University") was paid for exclusively from the pockets of those who wrote it, then I will be ignoring the greylist request and anxiously scanning your back pages for job opportunities at such a democratic institution.

Daniel Vulliamy
Senior lecturer in industrial relations
Centre for Lifelong Learning
Hull University

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