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In this issue: editorial, strike, lost and found, UA92, remuneration, LUSU, colleges, shart, pine, jones, widden, letters.
It must be hard, being a Vice-Chancellor. Apart from the hundreds of thousands of pounds you earn, the chauffeur-driven Jaguar, oh, and the pornstar martinis of course, there don’t seem to be many positives to the job.
Everyone’s always complaining at you. Staff who want fair pensions. Students who complain when they aren’t being taught, and want their money back. Deans who complain when their HoDs refuse to do what they’re told to keep striking staff in line… And to top it all off, there’s the union members who complain when you don’t come and visit them for 9 days on the picket lines, and then complain afterwards that you haven’t really said anything. Even when you throw them a bone by agreeing to spread out their payments over three months, they still complain because you’ve told them you don’t think they’ve sufficiently considered the financial impact of striking. Fortunately you’re confident that, like you, they don’t understand all the complicated actuarial science behind their pension schemes, so you’re sure they’ll come round eventually if you just keep repeating that line!
And also, you’ve taken some steps to make sure that any dissenting voices won’t have much opportunity to make themselves heard. You’ve destroyed Court, clipped Senate’s wings, and Council is hardly going to cause you much trouble, given the present membership.
And of course you would never stoop to such questionable ‘leadership’ tactics as Glasgow’s VC, who was out on the picket lines from near the start of the strike, or Kent’s, who issued a joint statement with the local union branch. Or Leicester’s, who is only deducting two days worth of pay per month for the strike action, so the financial loss is spread out over seven months. What a wimp!
Nor would you wish to align yourself with the dozens of VCs who publicly called for a return to negotiations – no, when some nasty journos wrongly reported that you had, you made sure to tell people what’s what. And coming right out and saying we should retain defined benefits, like the Cambridge VC – madness! After all, someone in as important a position as chair of UCEA had better watch out, and stay on the good side of his UUK buddies. Yes, that’s what real leadership looks like!