Since the Times Higher Education ran a story on the 13th September 2012 highlighting the bullying tactics against academic staff employed by the University of Birmingham, the situation in the college of Arts and Law has worsened – considerably. Following a supposed consultation, the College have now presented the final results of the 2012 Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA) review; this would appear to be the first of a new wave of reviews held across the University. The review has displayed an unprecedented level of bias, unfairness and aggression throughout its implementation and from the outset the University has sought to justify large scale redundancies:
Over 15 proposed redundancies were announced today – 11 from Archaeology; this, following 7 years of mismanagement in the IAA by senior managers.All members of staff on research contracts in Archaeology (responsible for several high impact, media friendly research projects internationally, including the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project, and Shakespeare Project among others) are targeted. Requests from the University and College Union (UCU) for an Equality and Impact Assessment regarding age and gender have been completely ignored.Senior managers have been rewarded for failures which led to the proposed closure of the department of Archaeology and the cutting of the undergraduate degree programme for Single Honours Archaeology.The University of Birmingham has refused to properly investigate a collective Grievance lodged by research staff against the Senior Management of the IAA.What impact will such massive cuts have on the University, on its students, on the research culture and on the whole student ‘experience’ – especially as a spate of such reviews is sweeping across the University?
The shockwaves are being felt throughout the University as a whole. There is an atmosphere of genuine fear amongst the staff as the University’s already heavy-handed management style turns vicious in its desperate attempt to rid itself of those it perceives as expendable. Throughout the process the College was adamant in its public statement that Archaeology would have a future at the University, however the results announced today of the IAA Consultation lay bare the truth: after the large scale redundancies, the few remaining senior Archaeologists will survive scattered amongst the various schools that formerly constituted the IAA, with the discipline of Archaeology continuing invisibly and ineffectually, only as a ‘virtual’ grouping.