The higher education bill will harm universities

Aditya Chakrabortty reports (27 September) on the worst private-sector tactics of outsourcing, zero-hour and agency-worker contracts by Coventry University. Coventry is not alone. London Metropolitan University is sacking a third of its lecturers, hiring staff on zero-hour contracts. Leicester and Hull are engaging in redundancies (including the UCU national president, Rob Goodfellow). Russell group professors are being encouraged to retire early. And this crisis in English HE is set to intensify. The higher education bill permits private for-profit providers to enter the sector with negligible scrutiny. Yet universities are not degree factories. They are where the future is forged, places of critique and imagination. They must be accessible to all. We are organising the third Convention for Higher Education at University College London on 15 October.
Sean Wallis University College London, joint editor of the Alternative White Paper for HE
John Holmwood Nottingham University and Campaign for the Public University, joint editor of the AWP
Tom Hickey Brighton University and Council for the Defence of British Universities, joint editor of the AWP
Rachel Cohen City, University of London and UCU NEC, joint editor of the AWP
Mark Campbell Former London Metropolitan University UCU rep
Sherrill Stroschein UCL and CDBU
Lee Jones Queen Mary, University of London and CPU
Des Freedman Goldsmiths UCU president
Saladin Meckled-Garcia UCL UCU president
Carlo Morelli Dundee University
Howard Hotson Oxford University
Adrian Budd London South Bank University
Sam Marsh Sheffield University
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