The Department of History has passed a motion against management’s proposed changes to Statute 24 at a recent staff meeting. Rejecting managements’ claim that the changes are to “simplify and modernise” governance, History staff stated:
“We believe that this represents a severe curtailment of our academic freedom. Statements about academic freedom carry very little weight unless academic staff (meaning those engaged in teaching, the provision of learning and/or research) are afforded the additional protections currently contained within Statute 24.”
The department’s motion comes in addition to 97% of staff across the University voting against the reforms in the staff Assembly, and at least five other departments issuing strongly-worded motions opposing the reforms.
Pointing out the disingenuousness of managements’ claim to be “standardising” the employment conditions of all staff, the Historians pointed out that:
“Applying the same policies to all staff represents a ‘levelling down’ that is neither necessary nor fair, given the distinctive nature of academic work which requires extra protections due to the fact that our research may lead us to ‘unpopular’ conclusions and findings that might challenge the status quo and the views of our university management and/or government. Moreover, there are many areas of the University in which different policies and procedures have applied to different staff groups, most notably in relation to probation, which is five years for academic staff but only six-months for other staff.’
Senate is a decision-making body that may have the capacity to reject these changes. The academic members that sit there should represent the interests of their faculties. Realising this, the History motion demands that the representatives on Senate and Council “oppose the changes to Statute 24”, and call “for a longer period of discussion, bearing in mind the magnitude of what is being proposed”.
The full text of the motion can be found here.
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.
#SaveOurStatute! Defend Academic Freedom at Warwick!