Swansea chair of governors apologises over Piercy remarks

Sir Roger Jones says comments by School of Management dean on trade unionists were ‘puerile’

May 20, 2015

Source: Swansea University School of Management

Nigel Piercy

The chair of Swansea University’s council has apologised “unreservedly” for “puerile” remarks made about trade unionists by the dean of the institution’s business school.

Sir Roger Jones, Swansea’s pro-chancellor, says that a blog post by Nigel Piercy that described trade unionists as “creepy little people” is “gratuitously offensive”.

Professor Piercy, whose time at Swansea has been marked by a series of conflicts with staff and students, had written that among those “claiming the right to censor and veto” academics’ pronouncements were “unpleasant and grubby little people, who purport to represent others because they have persuaded a tiny number of people to elect them to office in trades unions and the like”.

Such “creepy little people” were “usually distinguished only by their sad haircuts, grubby, chewed fingernails and failed careers”, he wrote. Another characteristic was “straggly beards”, “half-way between designer stubble and a real beard” and “probably indicative of a hormone deficiency”. 

In an email sent to all Swansea staff on 19 May, Sir Roger says that the university had an excellent relationship with trade unions and he therefore questioned why Professor Piercy had used such “crass” language.

“Was it just an attempt to damage this relationship? Sadly, I am led to conclude that this was his prime motive,” the pro-chancellor writes.

Sir Roger adds: “Academic freedom is a powerful concept and the world would be a poorer place if this was undermined. However the right of free expression must be balanced with the need for respect for others. I feel that Professor Piercy has failed to achieve that balance.

“Therefore as chairman of our council, I join with its members in apologising unreservedly for the dean’s puerile remarks. The university as an institution has been ill served by these gratuitously offensive comments.”

Professor Piercy had previously attracted controversy by telling academics that Swansea’s business school was “not a rest home for refugees from the 1960s, with their ponytails and tie-dyed T-shirts”.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote

Portrait montage of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

From Donald Trump to Brexit, John Morgan considers the challenges of a new international political climate