Election for staff representative cancelled after UCU endorses candidate

June 12, 2008

The University of Lincoln has called off an election for a new staff representative for its governing body because one candidate was endorsed by the lecturers' trade union.

The vacancy arose when Harry Ziegler, who sits on the University and College Union's branch committee, resigned. "In the past, the (UCU) branch has elected its chair to this seat so that in my view, I held it as a member of the branch committee, ensuring that the union had a voice on the board," Mr Ziegler told colleagues in an e-mail.

He went on to ask them to back Mohamed El-Sheemy, senior lecturer in clinical sciences, as "your union candidate" to ensure continued UCU representation. The other two candidates then withdrew. One stated that he did not wish to run against a UCU-endorsed candidate.

But the election was cancelled last week. Lincoln said: "Two of the three candidates have now withdrawn, on the ground that the remaining candidate is understood to be formally endorsed by the UCU. This ... disenfranchises those ... who have cast votes in favour of the two withdrawn candidates." Nominations have since opened for a fresh election.

Some academics have suggested that Lincoln acted to prevent a win by Dr El-Sheemy, who is said to have a "robust" approach to management.

Neither the UCU nor Dr El-Sheemy was available for comment.

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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