Management have undermined the democratic process of the staff Assembly in their communications output following the meeting.
The result of the Assembly, which voted 97% against the changes to Statute 24 (changes which will gut academic freedom and job security at Warwick, according to numerous departments), was noted in an email sent by Warwick to all staff the other week. The University also posted an update online.
In the online update, Warwick asserted that “The Assembly is not a decision-making body”, essentially writing off the democratic will of the largest academic staff body on campus in one condescending sentence. They also failed to make it clear that the Assembly opposed the reforms, noting only that a “significant majority” voted for the motion “Reforming the University’s Employment Statute, Statute 24” – without explaining what the content of the motion was. This led to widespread confusion amongst those who weren’t at the meeting, with some believing that the Assembly had voted in favour of the reforms! This is clearly a propaganda tactic by management.
This obfuscation is part of a pattern of undemocratic management maneuvering as they attempt to ram these toxic reforms through. The University is showing no interest in debate, transparency and discussion – only in authoritarianism.
Stuart Croft, the Vice Chancellor, has said that the changes are designed to “simplify, clarify and modernise” the Universities governance structures. The language of “modernising” is straight from the neo-liberal playbook. As Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams write, “We all know today that ‘modernisation’ translates into job cuts, the slashing of welfare and the privatisation of government services. To modernise, today, simply means to neoliberalise”. We ought to bear that in mind when confronting the University’s attempt to reframe the changes as inevitable, progressive, modern adaptations.
To find out more about the reforms and how to help stop them, see here. To read an in-depth analysis of the likely impact of the reforms, and how similar proposals have been defeated at other universities, see here.
DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM! #SaveOurStatute!