Please sign the petition calling for the reinstatement of Prof. Jim Newell, a respected academic in the Politics Department at Salford University, who has been dismissed because he has not met the university’s target for winning research grants or done enough to strengthen the university’s links with industry. Are universities educational and research establishments or businesses?
Here is Jim’s statement calling for support.
On 12 June, I was, as some of you may know, dismissed with immediate effect after my performance had been found wanting in terms of Salford’s Professorial Review Policy – a policy that was introduced, unilaterally, after my appointment as a prof in 2005, and which neither I nor UCU, to my knowledge, were asked to sign up to.
Looking at my record, I do not think that any reasonable person could conclude that my performance was any worse at the time of my dismissal than it was when I was appointed as a prof in 2005.
I made it clear to Allan Walker – head of Arts and Media at Salford – that I understood the pressures he was under, as a manager, to ensure certain targets were met. I was therefore willing to engage with him on a consensual basis. After 27 years’ service, however, I was not prepared to submit to the threats implicit in his decision to subject me to the University’s Performance Improvement Procedure. Given the discretion I expected to be able to exercise as an academic, I would not agree to the notion that my continued employment could legitimately be made conditional upon success in meeting the series of market-driven targets imposed on me as part of that procedure.
Despite this, I met the targets I was asked to meet – and yet I have still been dismissed, thanks, I believe to my refusal to sign up to a market-driven narrative of my role and responsibilities, or what Allan Walker calls my “uncooperative attitude”.
A large number of splendidly supportive colleagues, by whose gesture I am deeply touched, and of whom I am hugely proud, have organised a petition to Salford’s VC, Helen Marshall, demanding my reinstatement. You will find it here:
If you would please sign the petition and pass it on, I would be enormously grateful to you.