Letter from University Management

Letter from University Management

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35 Responses to Letter from University Management

  1. Anonymous - Uni. of Warwick says:

    The University of Warwick proposes a very similar discourse on democracy as the one currently seen in Turkey. The narrow definition of democracy performs only as a very thin veil for an increasingly authoritarian form of neo-liberalism in which choice is effectively limited to different forms of consumption. This is not democracy. This is not what a university should be about. A university should and has always been be a place of ideas and intellectual exchange. A place which challenges: accepted truths, notions of power and societal structures. A place which supports critical thinking and creativity (without necessarily a price-tag. Not a place which enforces and imposes economic dogmas and threatens with disciplinary punishments. The University of Warwick has, instead, become a Kafkaesque corporatist entity which not merely sets the rules, but also punishes those who dare to challenge those rules. Staff is afraid to speak out, as a constant notion of fear is increasingly disseminated through each and every department. The University is judge, jury and executioner. Resistance is the only option left. Resistance is a responsibility.

    Warwick is the neo-liberal university par excellence. Its sets the tone and trend for other universities in Britain (and possibly beyond). It is, therefore, only logical that Warwick should also be the first line of defense against this encroaching form of economic violence. I am proud of all students and staff involved. “Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible”!

    • Jonty says:

      Good lord, stop trying to be Anonymous. I don’t even know what half those words mean. I fully support the University’s stance on this occupation as anything else is pure stupidity on their part.

  2. Tom says:

    This fine country has laws, including the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. This explicitly states that that trespass on land which is not your own is illegal. It is a shame that the council chambers are owned by the university, but as they rightly say it is against the law. They are being reasonable at the moment in not calling the police and giving you a chance to protest (causing considerable disruption to the operation of the university) as long as you make it clear exactly when you plan to leave.
    I don’t believe the regime is ‘oppressive’ or ‘Kafkaesque’. Punishment is a part of our society if one does not follow the rules. Its simple – if they own something and you essentially steal it from them for a time then don’t expect them to take it lightly.
    You have made your point. Leave it alone. You have managed to make all other protests at this university pointless by making such a massive thing over such a small issue. I congratulate you on you achieving the exact opposite of your objective.

    • Sarah says:

      This comment set its tone already immediately at the start “this fine country”. The rest was just repetition and rhetoric.

      Lets all obey the laws. We need less democracy, we need more laws. I feel so stupid now, thinking that I came to university to learn to [i] think [/i]. I agree that we should all follow Tom’s advise: obey the law, follow rules & don’t question them and most important of all, stop thinking!!!!

      • Jonty says:

        Are you trying the “rules are made to be broken” argument? Now you just sound like an anarchist. Maybe the things you are protesting for have some merit in them, I don’t know/care enough to decide. But I do care enough to know that the way you’re protesting about it is wrong. I wish the university could just have the balls to evict you and dismiss you from the university without your precious degrees, but unfortunately that would probably harm their reputation more than just ignoring you.

    • Ruth says:

      If you think that the exploitation and (often illegal!) underpayment of staff at the University is a “small issue” then I think you could do with actually talking to some postgraduate tutors, postdoctoral researchers, administrators and cleaning staff at Warwick.

  3. Sarah says:

    @Jonty If you do not understand “what half those words mean”, then don’t humiliate yourself and leave your opinion to yourself. And do not force people to comment anonymously. Who are you to dictate oher people’s bahaviour?

    Talking about ‘stupidity’, this sentence is very funny and ironically self defeating. “I fully support the University’s stance on this occupation as anything else is pure stupidity on their part.”

    • Jonty says:

      Hey, i’m just trying to represent the average student. 😉

      • Sarah says:

        Out of context, Jonty, out of context. The discourse on neo-liberalism has a lot to do with such worldly issues. I am however not going to solve them alone, hope you will see the occupy people tomorrow. Together you stand stronger. Nite, nite, S.

    • Tom says:

      I’m sorry that we are not english students who understand these complex words. I took the time to look them up. Jonty must be too busy to bother, and is making a point. We get it, you know these words and can fit them in somewhere. Don’t bamboozle other people with your intellect. I doubt most the population knows what neo-libralism or Kafkaesque means. I certainly didn’t.

      • Jonty says:

        Hey, I know long words too! Maybe you would care to join me for a spot of kernel recompilation while I set up these OpenVZ containers on our new virtualisation server in the office. Do you think it would be better to use a PIC16F84A or a PIC18F4550 for an analogue data capture interface that has to sample at over 50kHz?

      • Sarah says:

        @Tom

        I guess that if you do not know what “neo-liberalism” is, now would be a good time to broaden your horizon. I am sure that many people involved in the occupation will exactly know what that term means. I find it, moreover, bizarre that one can contribute to a discussion without understanding the main theme…

        I cannot believe you do not know Kafka, are you making fun of me?

        @Jonty

        If you can relate and integrate OpenVZ containers, PIC16F84A, PIC18F4550, etc. to a political discussion, I do not think anybody would object.

      • Tom says:

        No, I am not making fun of you. I am merely suggesting that I do not know as much English as some. I would however suggest that Jonty’s comment about virtualisation is much more useful in a world where people actually get paid for doing work. There. I didn’t want to go there, but I have. I know exactly what Jonty means by all of those statements, In fact, I have a job doing that kind of thing.
        Did you not read the bit about me looking things up?

  4. Tom says:

    (And one can guess the main theme of the conversation by reading the front page of the blog – or am I missing the point?)

    • Sarah says:

      Talking about ‘new virtualisation server’ in the office would indeed make sense in a talk about ‘new virtualisation servers’ not in a talk about the neo-liberalisation and commoditisation of higher education in Britain. I think you do not need a philosophy degree to understand that.

      I indeed agree that ‘new virtualisation servers’ are incredibly “useful” in a world of wars, protests, hunger, inequalities, poverty etc etc. No, really definitively, I mean in all seriousness, really earnest I mean, I am not joking really…. not.

      Anyway, Josty already admitted that he/she does not care and does not know.

      *off

      • Jonty says:

        Not that i’ve suddenly started caring, but I fail to see how any of the actions you’re hoping for here will have any positive impact on war, hunger, inequality, poverty or etc etc. But I don’t have a philosophy degree.

  5. Tom says:

    Again, you’re missing the point. It is not stupid not to know these terms. I merly made a point, which you have capitalised on to make me sound stupid. As a student of this university, my point is just as valid as yours. Indeed, these terms concerning technology are not of use in a debate about world affairs. In case you haven’t got it yet, I’m making a point about the use of these words. I did kind of agree with the aims, just not the actual process of your protest. However, I am now led to believe that the person to which I am communicating is a person who Jonty says in another thread is someone who will not accept any point apart from their own and therefore it is stupid trying to persuade. You will no doubt think the same of me. I do however laugh at your pathetic attempt to gain some status with your no doubt exceptionally intelligent peers and it pains me to see such wit and talent go to waste on such a worthless cause as me.

    Well, you have managed to do what it seems most types manage to do. I really can’t be bothered any more. I would wish you luck in your protest, but the only hope I have now is that the university take the action that has been due since Friday and the rest of us can get on with our routine, perhaps boring, but nevertheless rewarding lives.

    • Sarah says:

      I am sorry. I do not think you have made any point so far. You only seem to encourage the use and coining of completely random words in a discussion. Maybe I can do the same: filibuster, buccaneer, acrimonious, conviviality. Now what? Absolutely nothing. I don’t know who Jonty is talking to in another thread. I wish you good luck with your perhaps boring life. Mine never is. X, Sarah.

  6. Tom says:

    Unfortunately as is so often the case, one can never truly leave an argument on the internet. It is always just 1 more post.

    Just to be ABSOLUTELY clear, this is a quote from earlier. “Don’t bamboozle other people with your intellect. I doubt most the population knows what neo-libralism or Kafkaesque means. I certainly didn’t.”

    I did not. Perfectly willing to admit it. But then I also said “I doubt most the population knows what neo-libralism or Kafkaesque means.”. Which I do. I don’t have the political force behind me that you obviously do, so if you would like to conduct a poll on the general populance of the United Kingdom then go right ahead.

    I then made a point about some people, notably the fine upstanding, well educated citizen that you are so keen to be, will not know some of the terms that a nerd like me will know. I could provide references to all of those words and recite definitions for all of them. I am not making them up. At no point in the above conversation did I mention that they are good for fighting wars (well, that is still to be considered) but you seem to have thought that I did. I merely pointed out that instead of knowing all of these terms that might get you a job at some swanky lawyer firm in a big city, the terms I know open job opportunities aplenty.

    I bet you life never will be boring if you keep pulling these little pedantic stunts and humiliating other people without considering what they are saying. In hindsight, my point may not have been entirely clear, so I have set it out above.

    Back to my boring life then I suppose. A very good night to all participating in this useless act of ‘discussion’.

    • Sarah says:

      This is useless, indeed. It is a shame that you feel so insecure about your mastery of the pretty English language. There is no reason for that. It is, however, a greater pity that you allowed it to prevent you from engaging with the OP’s very sound critique. Nite, nite, love. Till next time.

  7. jontycomp says:

    For what it’s worth, Tom *is* the OP in this thread, he replied directly to the original post. Also, I find English to be an ugly language in contrast to the beautiful Scandinavian languages. But I think the point we were trying to make is that you don’t make much of an impact in the world of ‘the common person’ with all the political gibberish you seem to know. It sure puts me off wanting to engage in politics, as it makes you sound a bit obnoxious to my poor uneducated ear. However, I’ve probably dished out my own fair share of obnoxiousness tonight, so I’ll shut up. There’s no way to wish you goodnight without sounding as sarcastic as you do, so I won’t bother. 😦

  8. Dan says:

    Read this part of the letter *very* carefully:

    “the University does not seek to prevent peaceful debate. Your unauthorised occupation, however”

    The ‘however’ refers to the ‘peaceful’ in the first sentence. So what is going on that isn’t peaceful? Do the authorities think that sitting in a room discussing things is a form of violence? Or is it more sinister, should we take it to be a threat: “we, the authorities, will resort to violence – pepper-spray, manhandling, worse – if you don’t stop being so damn peaceful where we don’t want you”.

  9. Dan says:

    By the way, does he really think it necessary to point out, over and over again, that the occupation is breaking his rules?

    Does anyone know how much the Academic Registrar gets paid?

    • George Whitworth says:

      You can probably work that out pretty easily with a bit of research, Dan. I’d hazard that while it is probably a comfortable sum, it’s unlikely to be astronomical. NB, while I agree that the pay-rise of the VC is difficult to justify, I also struggle to see it is a scarcely credible figure. I’d also point out that the ‘lowest wage’ quoted in one of these posts is fairly similar to the figure proposed by the living wage campaign… which arguably implies it is in some way an acceptable wage, one could say.

      NB2 – Ruth’s point higher up about the ‘wages’ of quasi-teaching staff is slightly more relevant. Exploitative quite possibly, but illegal almost certainly not, and I’m pretty sure cleaners and adminstrators actually do pretty well on benchmarking to similar roles in the local area.

      I’m still struggling to understand why a random collection of students (who, coincidentally, I am sure, all happen to see the world in similar shades of the same colour), are such a great representative structure and why they should command the earnest ear of the University management.

      • Ruth says:

        Paying people less than minimum wage is unlawful. Employing non-contracted workers can also lead to various offences. The University does both.

        Bear in mind the £14,000 figure refers to full-time staff. Most of the University’s most exploited workers (including many members of cleaning and administrative staff as well as teaching staff – and please don’t call us “quasi-teaching staff”, if you’re in my class you’re there to learn and I’m there to teach) work part-time and do not earn anything like £14,000.

      • Jonty says:

        George, you have a way with words that I can only dream of having. I take back everything I ever said about you while you were still here! 😛

      • george says:

        Ruth, I agree with your point above about pg students used as teachers. My use of the word quasi is related to how the university probably treats them to remain legal. Questionable and objectionable? as I said, above, yes.
        I’ve never seen evidence of contracted (or subcontracted) staff being paid below a living wage, let alone below nmw, and I’m not going to assume its true just because someone says so on the internet.
        If the university has actually acted unlawfully, I’m sure you can get an aspiring employment lawyer to take the case on to make a name for themselves.
        And you’ve not answered my final question.

      • Freddy says:

        “I’ve never seen evidence of contracted (or subcontracted) staff being paid below a living wage”

        George, stop being so lazy, tutor wages are widely available on universities’ websites. There has been massive news coverage of this for over a year now.

        “I am sure, all happen to see the world in similar shades of the same colour”.

        Again pure laziness or deliberate evil intentions (encircle appropriate). You will find all political shades questioning the principles of university education: liberals, socialists and even the odd communist and anarchist.

        in sum, please stop being lazy and engage before spouting hollow rhetoric and baseless assumptons.

  10. Dan says:

    Re the condescending reply to my question about the Academic Registrar’s pay: have you considered that asking such a question might have an intentional performative force, in the present context, beyond that of a simple request for information? If, as Jonty says, you have a way with words he can only dream of, I can only question his imaginative power and the extent of his reading. As for this university’s management, I’m yet to see any evidence of their having “earnest ears” at all.

    • Jonty says:

      I have no imagination, i’m an Engineering student! My favourite book is Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I haven’t read any poetry since GCSE English Lit. I am however trying to read A Song of Ice and Fire at the moment though, which will probably take me until sometime in the next century.

    • george says:

      Yes, which is why i also said that I think its not actually that much in the grand scheme of things. if the university doesnt currently listen to staff or students who agree with this cause, why will this change that? Literally don’t see any realistic positive outcomes. If youre going to change the world one changed mind at a time (which seems to be the cyrrent plan) you’re going to take a long time to do it – especially out of a locked building that noone ever goes in anyway

      • Freddy says:

        Fortunately not everybody is so unwilling, stubborn and trollish in their comments. You have not made one substantiated claim thus far. You do not contribute to any form of discussion. All you do is shout in a reactionary manner. There is not a single sign of critical engagement on your behalf. Why even bother with university if you are not willing to think?

      • Danny says:

        It’s this kind of attitude which troubles me most. We all seem agreed with the occupiers general reasons, and we all agree that it’s very difficult, in the political climate we live in, to do anything that will have any kind of impact. It’s very difficult to find an effective way to make this kind of point, and so questions of strategy and tactics are very important. You might not think occupation is the right strategy, but if you agree with the occupiers general aims then why be so rudely critical about them? Rather than just cynically attacking them, why not suggest an alternative way to get these points across? Why not go down there yourself and discuss alternative strategies with them? I think we can all agree these aren’t easy issues, but at least the occupiers are giving us an answer, and are actually following through on it, rather than just engaging in what I see as a very damaging cynicism.

      • george says:

        In a moderate, established and developed western society, you’re not going to create a revolution. By all means have a protest, they’re a lot of fun and get people talking but if you actually want to change the way things are you are going to have to do it from within.

        Sorry if that’s too cynical for you but I completely believe it. And Freddy, if I’m being reactionary and trollish, which I probably am, on this esteemed WordPress site, its because I’ve seen a load of reactionary bullshit floating around the articles and comments themselves, albeit they are mixed in among comments and statements that are both well intentioned and factually accurate

      • george says:

        To clarify further – things that I believe would have been good focal points instead of the very broad brush, catch all, approach:
        Postgraduates as teachers
        University managed accommodations and their prices
        The university’s wp agenda
        Why?
        Both are measurable, easy to understand, and also widely supported grievances. However, they’re also things that are probably best approached through existing representative structures IMO.
        Pretty much everything else on the ppu report just obscures useful messages like these and screams SWP propoganda at me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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