Motion 2 – Vote of No Confidence in Vice-Chancellor and Provost, 21/10/20

Motion 2 – Vote of No Confidence in Vice-Chancellor and Provost

This branch notes that both the Vice Chancellor, Jean-Noël Ezingeard, and Provost, Anna Gough-Yates, have failed to fully engage with options put forward by UCU negotiators to meet requirements for sustainable University finances and instead have opted for massive job cuts to be implemented within the School of Arts and the School of Humanities as the preferred cost-saving measure. This branch also notes that both the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost have a history of managerial involvement in cuts to Arts and Humanities Departments, and their justification of ‘rebalancing’ suggests that the current situation is not directly as a result of Covid-19 but is part of a more long-term strategic cull to the Arts and Humanities. The simple logic of this ‘rebalancing’ is based on Student Staff Ratios, which directly discriminates against subjects that do not teach through large lectures; it also wholly disregards other determinants of value such as research renown and income, community engagements, and postgraduate research.

The branch believes that the inflexible, non-consultative approach and wilful disregard shown by the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost to academic staff in the School of Arts and the School of Humanities belies a troubling denigration of their work at Roehampton and at large. This is contrary to the Vice-Chancellor’s repeated claim that the Arts and Humanities will play an important role in Roehampton’s future. Furthermore, this branch believes that the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost are not, at present, serving the best interests of staff in either the School of Arts or the School of Humanities, but creating enormous reputational damage for the University. The proposed job cuts will decimate the research and teaching cultures of these Schools for years to come, not to mention student experience and future recruitment, making some subject areas untenable.

Therefore, this branch calls for a vote of no confidence in the Vice-Chancellor, Jean-Noël Ezingeard, and the Provost, Anna Gough-Yates, who have disregarded all alternative proposals for cost-saving measures put forward by UCU, who have not provided detailed comparative financial analysis of the performances of either the School of Arts or the School of Humanities (two of the consistently highest performing Schools in the entire University), and who have abandoned the key principles of the academic ethos of the University by advocating for massive academic job cuts ahead of all other cost-saving measures put forward by UCU.