No need for closure

November 5, 2015

Keith Zimmerman has taken up the role of university secretary at the Open University (Appointments, 29 October). This post, the biggest of its kind in the UK, was not advertised externally.

Zimmerman’s proposal for the closure of seven regional offices has driven University and College Union members to ballot for industrial action in a local dispute for the first time in the university’s history. One of his first acts as secretary was to ban the unions from holding a good-natured rally before the senate meeting on 14 October – a meeting in which the senate rejected the plans to close the centres.

More than 420 academics and academic-related staff have since written to Zimmerman to express concern at how the management is riding roughshod over structures that should ensure better scrutiny of the university’s plans. We will continue to oppose the closures, and we hope that the university will recognise the level of opposition and reconsider its plans, as was advised by the senate when it rejected the proposed closures.

Sally Hunt
General secretary
University and College Union


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Reader's comments (1)

Is the shoed-in appointment of Zimmerman (who was only Director of Students for a couple of years) a sign that the same thing will happen to the new Executive Dean posts of the newly restructed super Faculties, i.e. the existing caretaker Deans will be appointed personally by Horrocks with no external competition? This is extremely worrying sign that the OU is becoming ever more inward looking, not even attempting to attract high calibre professionals from other Universities.

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