As a science graduate of Edinburgh University, a former Glasgow college lecturer and a mature post-graduate science student who was unjustly excluded from both Universities in Aberdeen (AU & RGU) leaving me with the worst-possible reference (“we don’t even allow him on campus”), from which my career as a scientist never recovered, I have a unique perspective on university pay disputes.
Whilst unjustified student exclusions are the fault of mismanagement failing to find a way for people to work together, those unjust exclusions often follow a complaint from a lecturer or department administrator, unwilling to allow tough questions to be asked of staff by “mere students”, however educated and qualified those students may be.
University Principals are those most responsible for hiring lawyers to obtain court orders to enforce exclusions from the campus.
My complaint about the staff in general is that collectively they show no solidarity with excluded students whom one of their fellow staff colleagues may have complained about. The solidarity is always with the tenured staff member to support principals who exclude any student who asks tough questions.
Whilst collective action from staff is often evident to support a wage claim, never in a million years can one imagine collective action by university staff in support of excluded students.
Such excluded students are left to rot on the dole for the rest of their lives, or tormented by Jobcentre staff and made mentally ill by having their benefits cut off. Such individuals as myself are the “skeletons in the cupboard” of academia – only I am one such skeleton who is still blowing the whistle!
So that’s why I don’t support such pay claims, as I explained to a BBC Radio Scotland phone-in program some years ago.
Peter Dow (on radio) re: Scottish Universities Pay Dispute
Lecturers and students who didn’t welcome my tough questions, typically complained that I was “disruptive”, misrepresenting my constructive line of questioning.
They couldn’t go complaining to management about my “constructive” questions without looking foolish, now could they?
Better to save face by pretending that I was “disruptive”, embellish their account so as to paint me in as bad a light as they can.
Academics claiming that they “don’t want” students excluded is insincere when they never lift a finger to oppose or reverse exclusions.
Academics who claim they cannot imagine dishonesty in their colleagues either lack imagination or are dishonest themselves.
In my case, academics testified as witnesses for the prosecution, for my exclusion, as to my alleged “disruptive” behaviour at lectures etc. so my experience is to the contrary of any claims that academic staff “do not want exclusion”.
“Gown” versus “Town”
Academics (“Gown”) are willing to take industrial action action against the university management (“Town”) in support of wages and conditions, so it is untrue to pretend that “Gown” doesn’t ever interfere with “Town” management decisions ever.
The contrast is the courage when selfishly striking for university staff’s own wages compared to the indifference or moral cowardice in not striking, not even speaking out, in solidarity with excluded students.
Academics don’t speak out politically in support of excluded students but have misled the polity by pretending that excluded students can be “expected to do very well”, whereas the deck is very much stacked against us when we are excluded.
My career as a scientist was ruined, long term unemployed and on the sick, with no social life, no friends, no family of my own.
I was excluded from the University of Aberdeen from 1991 and the Robert Gordon University in 2003 and have never been included anywhere else that I wanted to be as a first choice since then.
It is too late for me to expect the experience of decades of exclusion since then not to determine my future. It has determined the last 28 years of my life, ruining it completely.
My life has been totally destroyed by my exclusion!
“Study at the Open University”
Having left my college lecturing job from boredom, I didn’t want to do an O.U. course, still don’t, because I lacked and still lack a social life.
When you are socially isolated, you need the company of your peers. You want to make friends, perhaps find a partner in life to start a family with.
What you don’t need is your peers excluding you from their company because you might ask some tough questions.
What I need is solidarity against the mismanagement of the Universities of Aberdeen and the mismanagement of the courts which prevented me from holding them to account.
I need restorative action which removes the bad management and lets me back on campus in Aberdeen to put the record straight at every public meeting on campus, where I can speak out and reduce the reputation of the past years of mismanagement to the “lowest of the low” which is appropriate.
I have been grievously wronged and the wrong-doers must be held to account.
There must be justice and accountability and compensation, though I fear the compensation I would demand would break the Bank of England but no apology nor compensation whatsoever has ever been offered to me.
So the solution here must be to remove the accreditation of all UK universities and of the standing of the kingdom and monarchy which gave them their royal charters that they never deserved in the first place.
The Windsor royal family must be exiled from Britain before we, the people, can then turn in a “year zero” to confronting the UK elites who have abused their positions of trust in the kingdom.
We’ll see how brave academics etc. are when they don’t have a fascist police state to exclude their critics.
Meanwhile, Ivory Tower fascists do not deserve any wage nor any pension – social security payments only until they put their own house in order.