BUCU Statement – Save the IAA!

June 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Following a very rapidly conducted review of the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA), the review group, chaired by Professor Malcolm Press, recommended that the IAA be closed. This will mean the redundancy of 19 members of staff and have a large and detrimental impact on the teaching and research of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. It also raises considerable concerns about the commitment of the University to both the Arts and Humanities, and to areas that (for whatever reason) are not considered to currently be fashionable or commercially important.

Existing IAA students have already expressed serious concerns about the impact this will have on their degrees, and staff and students expect that the bad publicity generated by this decision risks putting students off attending the University of Birmingham.

A campaign website has been created, which will be regularly updated – http://saveiaa.wordpress.com

Please sign the Save the IAA campaign: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-iaa

The main proposals of the University are:

  • Closure of the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
  • 19 staff to be made redundant – that is over half of the non-professorial academic staff currently in the IAA
  • None of the individuals involved in the review are included in the list of staff at risk of redundancy
  • All Professorial staff are excluded from the threat of redundancy, despite the assertion that the IAA has been failing for a number of years and the questionable leadership of sections of the Professorial staff in leading to such failure.

A number of very serious concerns have been raised with the University, including with Professor Press and Professor David Eastwood (through BUCU), by the staff of the IAA, regarding the process, timing and legitimacy of the review. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The composition of the review panel consisted largely of senior members of the unit under review.
  • The review took only one month to complete, with only one hour allocated for staff to meet with the review panel. This compressed timetable is unprecedented, and made it extremely difficult to make coherent and collaborative responses.
  • Throughout the process, while a substantial amount of information was provided to the review panel, little documentation was provided to IAA staff, despite repeated requests for financial figures and KPTs. The information that was provided appeared to have been censored, or missing key sections, making it difficult for staff to contribute anything noteworthy to the review panel
  • Due to the current lack of financial figures and associated information, staff lodged a Freedom of Information Act Request over 20 working days ago to obtain all the material provided to the review panel with the aim of producing an alternative plan that best fit the current situation. The staff were informed on 8thof June that the University would need more time to perform a Public Interest test. However, they failed to specify which exemptions they are applying, and it appears now that the University are stalling to provide any information that would enlighten staff
  • A group grievance was lodged by the Project Group with HR concerning serious problems with senior IAA management.

Staff within the IAA now find themselves within the 90 day consultation period with a seemingly cosmetic opportunity to provide an alternative proposal to the plan currently tabled.

BUCU will be supporting the campaign to save the IAA, and hopes that members will provide support in the coming months.

Please sign the Save the IAA campaign: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-iaa

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