Vice-Chancellor Raftery’s bizarre veiled threat to Union Officer

Union officers at London Metropolitan University have become used to receiving tetchy responses from Vice-Chancellor Raftery, but perhaps he should have sought some advice from his PR Officer, Luke Foddy, before making his latest response to a UCU request.

UCU’s Environment Officer, Richard Payne, wrote to Raftery to remind him about an earlier email seeking support for the incorporation of environmental issues into teaching. Raftery’s response can be summarised as “The university has more important things to worry about than creating a curriculum relevant to the survival of the planet”. But even more extraordinary is his veiled threat, written in bold font, in the PS. The full correspondence is printed below. Passive-aggressive or what?!


Correspondence to / from VC

Dear Vice Chancellor,

I wrote to you on 23-3-16 on this issue [Environmental Sustainability] which I consider to be very important and which I think deserves the full consideration of senior management team; I have had no response to date. I trust my email has simply been overlooked and hope I can still expect a reply that takes up my suggestion about how the university addresses the environment and climate change as a pedagogic issue




Dear Dr Payne,

No it was not overlooked. It is simply that there were, and are, higher priorities for London Met. The highest priority for us all at present is our work on increasing the number of students who enrol and their probability of successful completion.  Without this and without controlling costs, we will not eliminate annual deficits.   Success on those fronts is, literally, an existential matter for the institution and so they should be priorities for all staff too.

After the University has worked its way back to financial health, has had a couple of years of growth and is hiring new staff, perhaps then I could afford to spend time on the curriculum question you raise.

In the meantime, as you well know, matters of policy on pedagogy are dealt with through the Deans Forum and Academic Board. The Deans report to the Deputy VC, Professor Peter McCaffery, to whom future correspondence on this matter should be addressed.

At this time, the biggest contribution you could make to this institution is to help your students to fulfil their potential by inspirational teaching and delightful educational experiences which result in the University’s NSS scores increasing to, and then exceeding, the national average.

With kind regards,

John Raftery

PS. In case you were not aware, you made an extended appearance on a 7 minute You tube video carrying a UCU banner at a recent protest march called “Rave the Cass”. 



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