Staff vote for v-c to resign

May 14, 1999

Staff have voted overwhelmingly for the immediate resignation of Lincolnshire and Humberside vice-chancellor Roger King, claiming "gross mismanagement". Strike action is threatened at the troubled university.

In a vote organised by lecturers' union Natfhe, staff voted 128 to 17 in favour of a call for Professor King's immediate departure, Natfhe has confirmed. The vote comes 20 months after a previous vote of no confidence in Professor King's stewardship, but this time it could be backed up with strike action.

In the same ballot this week, staff voted 122 to 21 in favour of industrial action short of a strike, and 83 to 60 in favour of strike action.

The action will come in opposition to planned redundancies at the university's Grimsby site, some of which are expected to be compulsory. The university is rationalising provision at Grimsby following a decline in student numbers for science and technology courses and plans to transfer provision to another site in Lincoln.

The trouble follows a string of allegations of mismanagement, student complaints of delivery failures and recent embarrassment over the university's alleged censorship of Jewish books at the university's partner institution in the United Arab Emirates.

Staff have described the university as "the next Thames Valley University" - taken over by the funding council to safeguard degree standards.

It is understood that Natfhe is planning a complaint against the university to the Quality Assurance Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. In a recent circular to staff, Natfhe said: "We need to maintain the pressure on the vice-chancellor. Even if he won't resign, we can pursue the matter in such a way as to achieve meaningful change. But if there's evidence that change is limited, the branch may wish to review its position regarding a possible approach to Hefce and the QAA. We recognise that there are major risks involved in such action and... (we) should only really contemplate this as a measure of last resort."

The university said that industrial action was highly unlikely, because it could avoid compulsory redundancies. It also said that the vote of no confidence in the vice-chancellor represented the views of a minority, as the university had more than 600 academic staff.

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