Bournemouth v-c lacks confidence of local UCU

April 3, 2008

University and College Union members at the University of Bournemouth have passed a vote of no confidence in their vice-chancellor.

Of 200 academics who returned papers - representing about one third of full-time academic staff - 184 supported a motion that says: "This branch has no confidence in the vice-chancellor's conduct and strategic plan."

The UCU said the ballot was called because of "mounting disquiet" over Paul Curran's actions.

"Staff have complained that his approach to a wide variety of employment matters, the introduction of local contracts, the erosion of nationally agreed terms and conditions and a recent round of compulsory redundancies left them with no option but to censure him," a spokesman said.

Paul Freedman, the UCU branch secretary, added: "This result shows the degree of anger and disappointment at the current actions of the vice-chancellor and his management team. We are not against change, but it has to build on our educational assets and retain the goodwill of staff. Our fear is that the very bedrock of what makes a decent university will be trashed in a headlong rush to change. We urge them to slow down."

The Bournemouth student union passed a similar motion last year in protest against planned changes to courses and staff.

The university's board of governors is standing by Professor Curran.

Its chairman, Alan Frost, said: "The board notes but absolutely refutes the UCU vote of no confidence. Naturally, we understand that some staff are feeling concerned during this period of an unprecedented rate of change, but we do not believe this vote reflects the views of the majority of staff within the university."

The university's corporate plan states that by 2012 research academics will outnumber pure teaching staff. Professor Curran also wants the university to focus more on professional education.

Mr Frost said: "We need to move forward swiftly in order to make the necessary change to achieve our vision for the university in 2012.

"The board is an enthusiastic supporter of the university's vision and fully supports the vice-chancellor and his team as they implement the significant changes required for Bournemouth to become a stronger and more competitive university."

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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