Management go on holiday

Staff in A&H have put together the following statement of no confidence in the A&H divisional leadership and are asking all members to support it as soon as possible. This petition is internal to the University of Kent. Check your email to find the link to add your name.


Management go on holiday: No confidence in A&H Divisional Leadership

The Arts & Humanities Divisional leadership have gone on holiday in the middle of the formal 30 day consultation period after which their colleagues will be made compulsorily redundant. They are on annual leave for a quarter of the consultation period. The Divisional leadership has refused to hold face to face meetings until the very end of the 30 day consultation period. At a time when many of our colleagues are being threatened with compulsory redundancies and have had to cancel their annual leave to fight to keep their jobs and protect their disciplines, it is inappropriate for the management of the Division to be absent for a quarter of the consultation period. This absence is causing serious and harmful delays,  forcing colleagues to wait over a week until key calculations around financial targets, cost savings and most importantly growth income can be redone.

In January, 109 staff in the Arts and Humanities signed a Statement of No Confidence in the academic leadership of the Divisional Directorate (excluding PS managers) to report our serious concern about the direction of the Division and request new leadership. This represents an absolute majority of all staff in the Division. Rather than opening a democratic process for the selection of new  leadership when faced with this majority vote, senior management have instead chosen to:

– Tear up the deal of ‘No compulsory redundancies’ made with the local trade union branch; one of the few employers in the sector to have reneged upon a public commitment of this nature;

– Obscure the finances to such an extent that the trade union branch has had to resort to Freedom of Information Requests. Since employers are required to share freely more information during a period of formal consultation for redundancies, obstructions from the Divisional leadership are especially disappointing.

– Create a culture of chaos, confusion and anxiety that is harmful to staff mental health, tabling damaging proposals to cut staff in areas that are profitable and projected to grow in excess of management targets, and offering little support to those areas most in need of a new strategy.

The divisional leadership have chosen to exclude significant sources of income–such as QR money, REF income, and external research grants–from their evaluation of the financial sustainability of our subjects.  The result is a misleading picture that does not accurately represent the strength of the disciplines we are proud of and have worked so hard to represent at Kent.

We, the undersigned, ask once again for a democratic process to commence as soon as possible to select a full new academic leadership team of the Arts & Humanities, with a view to having new role-holders in post by 1st September. The present state of the Division  is saddening for colleagues and a waste of our extraordinary potential. We ask the management of the University to please think again and take seriously our request for new leadership in the Arts & Humanities.