by Charles Fedor
In a closed-door meeting of the Academic Leaders Forum on the 28th of July, the Vice-Chancellor, in front of Heads of School, members of the Executive, and Directors, declared the ongoing proposal to re-structure the School of Social Sciences a “war”, according to multiple sources present at the meeting. This was followed up with the Vice-Chancellor asking audience members to applaud the Head of Social Sciences Professor Amanda Davies for her “decisive leadership”.
Further, the Vice-Chancellor attempted to also instil a sense of ‘cabinet solidarity’ by noting the inter-dependence and mutual reliance university leaders have on the Vice-Chancellor and vice versa.
This did not resonate well with a number of audience members, who reportedly had mixed reactions to the comments, some feeling that the comments were tone deaf, others believing it showed an inappropriate level of confrontation during a period of high emotion.
What is of significant concern, is the leader of our university declaring “war” on peaceful protestors, fearful academics, and scared students. Is this the standard of rhetoric we expect from our Vice-Chancellor? It does little to assuage the widespread fears of students and staff that they will face reprisals for speaking out.
When this story was provided, I discounted it as something worthy of our comedy section. The very notion of a Vice-Chancellor declaring the university ‘at war’ seems laughable. It seems that satire is truly dead. Our university is at war with itself.
The Vice-Chancellor has been contacted for comment.