Public Letter to VC, David Eastwood RE: my expulsion from university committees & new disciplinary.

On the 16th of March, the University delivered a letter to me informing me that they are expelling me from all my positions on all university committees, pending a university disciplinary which they will soon start against me.  My expulsion is without any due process and is entirely without any legal grounding other than the say so of the University.

Two weeks ago the officer team sent a private letter of complaint to the university, however the university have offered no formal reponse. I do not consider it within the power of the university to pick and choose who are the elected representatives of students and as such I consider it my duty to personally pursue robust action to ensure that the University do not consider taking such action against future student representatives. It is to this end that I have sent the below message to the vice chancellor David Eastwood.

Dear David Eastwood,

Thank you for the letter informing me of my expulsion from all university committees and the instigation of university disciplinary proceedings against me for the “Protest against the ban on protests”. While I will happily defend myself in another university disciplinary against me, expelling me as elected representative from all university committees is a move which reduces student engagement to a farcical illusion of a university democracy. However, this explusion is only the culmination of a year’s abuse of due proccess. From the beginning of my time in office you have sought to avoid any engagement with me.

As I took office I was barred from attending June senate; instead you requested that my predecessor Rob Hunter attended without me. Before the first meeting of University Council that I was elected to attend, you removed the VP Education from University Council, replacing it with a vacant non-sabbatical position.  During the summer, as chair of Senate, you vetoed the submission of all the motions I tabled for the upcoming September Senate. You eventually escaped me delivering the points myself due to my suspension by the Guild, however even this you decided to upgrade to a complete ban from campus.

Since my return to office I was able to take the opportunity to go to my first few sub-committee meetings and I was looking forward to the larger university committees in March. On the sub-committees I sit on, I have never received the papers for a university meeting more than a few hours in advance giving me very little time to dig up the most regressive changes being pushed. At the senate of Tuesday 17th of march you were attempting to gain the rubber stamped approval of several controversial items and suspiciously less than 18 hours before senate was due to start you expelled me for unrelated events taking place over a month ago.

It appears to me the university has completely forgotten why it engages with the student body on a formal basis. You don’t treat the student body seriously, you choose to ignore and shut down any voices critical of your policies, not just from your own ears but from the ears of any committee that could set a different direction. I was elected by students to represent them at university boards and while students in the guild may withdraw my presence at these meetings through democratic means, it is not for you to pick and choose who is the elected representative of the student body.

You have decided not to engage critically with the plurality of opinions on your campus, instead you have chosen to only listen to the portion student opinion that concurs with your own.  You have played fast and loose with the rules to shut out the student voice. I now feel I have a duty for the sake of future officers and students to remind the university exactly why they took the student voice so seriously in the first place.

As I am to be blocked then from any engagement with university committees without any due proccess, lobbying is put off the agenda. As such I will use the remainder of my period in office to as best as possible expose completely to all staff and students the full scale of the regressive measures being pushed by yourself & the university executive board which are usually hidden by your glossy PR.

By virtue of my position as VP Education I have access to all the university papers of my predeccessors, from most university committees documenting everything taking place under your tenure. I along with many other students am preparing a publicity campaign to start after the holidays to reach all staff and students. We will do this because if we are cut out of all decisions in a meaningful sense, then we have no choice but to stop appealing to the university privately and instead appeal all members of the University for the change we need.

For too long the university community has been trapped in the illusory idea of a representative process that is working for them. This year you have collapsed this illusion and exposed it as farcical undemocratic system designed to legitimise your own regressive actions. We now seek to expose & delegitimise your actions which this farcial systerm has been used to hide from view.

All the best

Edd Bauer VP Education University of Birmingham Guild of Students.

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9 Responses to Public Letter to VC, David Eastwood RE: my expulsion from university committees & new disciplinary.

  1. simonfurse says:

    The idea of a ‘special relationship’ with the university is a sham. Students are allowed onto committees only if they are weak and don’t express ideas that the university doesn’t like. We cannot allow ourselves to be pushed around like this, the guild- as a whole- needs to stand up for itself for once.

  2. Matt Z. Arkist says:

    I can’t believe I am actually reading this. The lack of dialogue that the University is offering is shocking to me. I hope Eastwood, in his capacity as Vice Chancellor, responds to this letter openly and publicly and actually addresses these issues. I have been following this whole topic from the sidelines for a while now and find it quite interesting that I have yet to see a statement made by him.

    Beyond that, I am surprised that the University feels it is necessary to suspend you from your office when such little time is left of the year. Surely a balance between our democratic interests as students and the need for having another disciplinary hearing with you is not struck by expelling you from all committees. If they feel the need for a disciplinary hearing, that is fine, but can someone explain the exact line of reasoning to me behind expelling you from all university committees in the meantime?

  3. Wit says:

    Edd,

    This is a really good response.

    Students from Lancaster University Against Cuts were proud to attend the Birmingham Uni protest against a ban on protests, in solidarity with University of Birmingham students – and students across Europe.

    If we can now be of any further help, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the email address recorded here or via our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/lancsuniagainstcuts/

    We will do our best to raise awareness amongst the students and staff here at Lancaster University about what is going on, and put pressure on our SU to speak out about this.

    Solidarity – always!
    Chris Witter
    Lancaster University Against Cuts

  4. Jaz says:

    Corporate University at it’s finest, this mentality of the corporates managing our university MUST be stopped or changed. If it doesn’t we as students risk condemning higher education at our university to the aggressive winds of prophets …. I mean profits.

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  8. aijon321 says:

    This is a brave stand against a very arrogant senior management that really cannot stand any dissent. I speak as a Uni employee.

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