13:27, May 20 79 0 theguardian.com

2019-05-20 13:27:04
Short-term contracts a plague on academia

Casualisation in academia is rampant and on the rise. And despite fine words about tackling ethnic disparities among students and in staff recruitment, fixed-term contracts are disproportionately held by ethnic minorities and women.

Now, an academic at Soas, University of London, Dr Feyzi Ismail, has twice had her application for permanency rejected, even after having worked at Soas since 2011 and for more than four years on continuous contracts. Universities are increasingly finding ways to keep people on fixed-term contracts, which is against the spirit of the law. Yet academics like Dr Ismail who are repeatedly put on fixed-term contracts do the same valuable work as permanent employees, but on significantly worse and more precarious terms and conditions.

Soas, which is dedicated to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East and known for its critical approach to teaching and research, should be leading the sector in fighting both precarity and discrimination.

Almost 1,200 staff and students across the country and beyond have already signed a letter in her support and we, the undersigned, call on Soas to grant permanency to Dr Ismail, and on all universities and colleges to review their use of casual contracts, which are both exploitative of staff and damaging to the learning experience of students.

Dr Tim Pringle Soas Soas UCU executive

Dr Navtej Purewal Soas

Dr Leandro Vergara-Camus Soas

Dr Meera Sabaratnam Soas

Dr Joanne Tomkinson Soas

Professor Des Freedman Goldsmiths, University of London UCU

Professor Natalie Fenton Goldsmiths

Professor Gregor Gall University of Leeds

Professor Etienne Balibar Kingston University

Professor Eleonore Kofman Middlesex University

Professor John Holmwood University of Nottingham

Emeritus Professor Phil Scraton Queen’s University Belfast

Emeritus Professor Kate Soper London Metropolitan University

Emeritus Professor Göran Therborn University of Cambridge

Andrew Murray Chief of staff, Unite the Union

Kevin Courtney Joint general secretary, NEU

Kiri Tunks Joint president, NEU

Alex Kenny NEU executive member

Jo McNeill President, University of Liverpool UCU; candidate for UCU general secretary

Jo Grady University of Sheffield, candidate for UCU general secretary

Matt Waddup National head of policy and campaigns, UCU; candidate for UCU general secretary

Tom Armstrong President, Soas UCU

Johnny Darlingston Secretary, Soas UCU

Nita Sanghera Vice-president, UCU

Francesca Martinez

Vijay Prashad Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Dr Douglas Chalmers President elect, UCU

Dr Carlo Morelli Scotland president elect, UCU

Dr Gholam Khiabany Goldsmiths UCU

Dr Rachel Cohen City, University of London UCU

Dr Kalpana Wilson Birkbeck, University of London

Dr Jeffery Webber Goldsmiths, University of London

Christina Paine UCU NEC, HE casualised rep

Sean Wallis President, UCL UCU, NEC

Alison Carlisle University of Roehampton

Jaya John Co-president, Oxford UCU

Andy Williams Cardiff UCU

Linda Cronin Equality officer, University of Roehampton

Professor Andrea Nightingale University of Oslo, Norway

Dr Marcus Taylor Queen’s University, Canada

Dr Dae-oup Chang Sogang University, South Korea

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