Update on Academic Freedom case, ahead of AB Special Meeting on Visitor's Report today

20 May 2019

Two weeks ago we wrote to you about an alarming case in which Statute 18 protections of academic freedom were under threat.

We are writing to you today to update you on that matter ahead of today's Special AB meeting to discuss the Visitor's Report:

    Special Meeting of Academic Board
    3-5pm, Monday 20 May
    Chemistry Auditorium XLG2
    Christopher Ingold Chemistry Building
    Gordon Street. 

We are pleased to report that the pressure created by our members through our Petition — and a subset of members who filed an Academic Board paper requiring a business item or Special Meeting regarding the Petition — led to the Provost conceding one of our major requests.

Specifically, he has acquiesced to our request that Academic Board appoint the third member of the Statute 18 panel in the case in question, as required by Statute 18 paragraph 16(c). 

Our sincere thanks to all of our members who rallied to help make this happen!

However, this is only a partial success.

  • UCL has so far failed to address our objection that the Provost unilaterally dismissed a serious Grievance against a member of SMT, without hearing or right of appeal, in contradiction to the requirements of both UCL policies and the statutory legislation, the ACAS Code of Practice 1.
  • Worse, it has come to our attention that the respondent to that Grievance is a member of the Appointment Panel for appointing the next Provost. 

We remain gravely concerned that UCL UCU had to escalate this case to our membership and a formal call for a Special Meeting of Academic Board before the Provost saw fit to agree to adhere to Statute 18 processes.

These appear to be further examples of a pattern of alarming behaviour by UCL senior management, revealed in part by the recent Report of the Visitor (still unpublished, see above), and through the victimisation and human rights breach UCL carried out against our Branch Secretary, Tony Brown.

If you are as concerned about these matters as we are, we hope that Academic Board members do make the special effort to attend the Special Meeting later today. 

If the issues above continue to be unaddressed we will be writing to members with proposed next steps.

Thank you for your support.