Bruford drama

June 26, 1998

YOU quote from a college press release that describes the recent student protest and occupation of the Creek Road site of Rose Bruford College as an "orchestrated campaign of misinformation by lecturers' union Natfhe" (THES, June 19). Natfhe is also accused of a campaign to "destabilise the college". At the conclusion of the article you allow the college spokeswoman to imply that Natfhe had aired "the problem" publicly, whereas the college had not.

Since the suspension and sackings of two of our members, I have received numerous letters of support from home-based and international current and former students and many theatre practitioners.

Throughout these difficult months Natfhe has resisted all pressure to divulge to students and the media the reasons for the sackings, and I challenge the college spokeswoman to go on the record to provide me with evidence to show that I and Natfhe in general have orchestrated a campaign of misinformation. A series of meetings was convened by the principal at the end of April and attended by students and staff. The students formed their own opinions. To suggest that it is Natfhe that has brought about the student occupation and related action is deeply offensive to the students of Rose Bruford College.

The facts are as follows. There are eight established full-time posts in the school of theatre studies. Two of the eight post-holders have been sacked. They are appealing to the governors against their dismissals. The cases have gone part heard and it would be quite wrong to pass comment upon the appeals. A further lecturer from the school has been given notice to terminate her contract because she is constructively dismissed. A fourth member resigned two weeks ago. His resignation was the catalyst for the student occupation.

In addition, more than 20 visiting lecturers to the school have publicly declared that they will not work again for Rose Bruford College until matters have been resolved. Both Natfhe and Equity are advising their members not to enter into new work with the college until all outstanding problems have been resolved. The student body is calling for an independent inquiry into the running of the college.

As part of their demands they are calling for the resignation of the principal. They are on the record as requiring answers from governors to their genuine concerns about the future of their academic programmes. With this in mind, 200 current and former students, parents, members of staff and members of the theatre profession took their demands to Downing Street on Sunday June 21.

The student body, the academic staff and Natfhe are dedicated to seeing Rose Bruford College as a viable, expanding and successful institution dedicated to the ethos established by Rose Bruford herself. This ethos demands respect, understanding and compassion between all students and the staff, who are dedicated to successfully taking the students along their journey to self-fulfilment.

The ethos of the college also demands cooperation between employees in a climate of mutual respect. It is this lack of respect towards the academic staff by some members of the college management that has brought about this sorry situation. This is the problem that the governors of Rose Bruford College must deal with now.

Jenny Golden Regional official (universities) Natfhe

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