Book pulped at London Met

August 27, 2004

London Metropolitan University has pulped thousands of copies of an official history, The Times Higher learnt this week.

Sean Glynn, author of From Polytechnic to University , a history of the old London Guildhall University (LGU), which now forms part of London Met, confirmed this week that the entire print run of his book had been destroyed.

London Met is currently subject to a boycott by lecturers' union Natfhe over plans to impose a new contract on former LGU staff. Some 387 staff have been told they will be sacked if they do not sign the contracts by August 31.

Dr Glynn, a former professor of business studies at LGU, claimed this week that the book pulping was linked to the dispute.

"It is easy to see why publication of the book would not be welcomed by the present administration," he said. "The book voices some of the concerns of LGU staff going into the merger (with the University of North London) and, in retrospect, these may have been justified."

The university strongly denied any link. A spokesperson said the decision was based on legal advice that a number of references to former LGU employees were not "accurate or appropriate" and the references "were unrelated to the section on the merger and covered much earlier periods recorded by the book".

But Dr Glynn said that he believed the legal problem had already been dealt with. An earlier print run had been destroyed and a number of legal changes had been made before the latest print run was pulped.

Natfhe said: "This is nothing short of book burning and shows complete contempt for academic freedom."

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