Birmingham Vice Chancellor David Eastwood should resign
Last week, Bright Green covered Birmingham University’s crack down on protest. Now Amnesty International and Liberty have slammed the university over its behaviour. Here, Edd Bauer, the Student Union’s education officer in exile calls for the resignation of the Vice Chancellor.
University of Birmingham managers with their mafia-like reactionary attitudes to any dissent on campus have once again brought themselves and the university into disrepute. Today they find themselves slammed by Amnesty international and Liberty amongst others for their 12 month blanket ban on ‘occupational protest action’ on campus.
Not only have they brought themselves and the university into disrepute but they have devalued the academy itself. This damages the reputation and standing of the academic community. It is an attack on the core values of a true learning community. Free speech, open debate and democracy are key tenets that universities have to maintain if they are to be institutions that are reflective of wider society needs.
If universities are truly going be institutions that research and teach what wider society requires then they must be in touch with wider society. To be in touch with wider society they must allow for free speech on campuses to be practiced unimpeded. By quashing dissent with disciplinary actions and banning protests universities lose touch with what is the public good. They instead essentially become run for the interests of the few and not the many.
All this comes as David Eastwood the Vice Chancellor takes another massive pay rise raising his pay from £392,000 to £419,000, making him now the highest paid VC in the country. This comes on top of last year’s massive pay rise from £342,000 to £392,000 and while the rest of the University of Birmingham academics and non-academic staff are getting painful real term pay cuts dished out for the second year in a row.
The university’s hardline stance is damaging the academy in other ways. As a director of the USS, the academic pensions board, David Eastwood is also responsible for the huge raid on academic pensions, which was the cause of the UCU strikes on November 30th. The repressive culture, the pay and pensions cuts and constant job insecurity is damaging the morale and productivity of the University of Birmingham.
I personally believe that the time has come for either David Eastwood the Vice Chancellor to face disciplinary action from the university or to step down from his position.