Following his UoB Briefs email to all members, Pro Vice Principal Tim Jones has also written a formal response to local Birmingham MP Preet Gill. Unfortunately, on investigation it has been almost entirely copied and pasted from an email sent to us over a month earlier.
The original letter to the University from the MP for Edgbaston can be found here on our website. Tim Jones’ full response is below, together with the plagiarism score… an impressive 76%!
We are left wondering if having to write a letter to local Edgbaston MP Preet Gill constitutes the “political risk” of operating in Edgbaston cited in recent all staff emails? If so, a copy and paste response to our MP over a month later hardly seems to suggest it is of any major interest or concern.
Like Preet, we have also pushed the University on their commitment to ensure the phase 2 campus development in Dubai does not make use of forced migrant labour. In his response, Tim Jones asserts that they have asked for a “questionnaire” to be completed and have conducted site inspections. Fortunately, as this response is an exact copy and paste from emails he has sent to us previously we have already submitted our Freedom of Information Requests to establish what this actually means in practice; whether or not any issues were in fact noted, and whether or not a “questionnaire” could possibly be sufficient when completed by a company operating in a country with a known record of human rights abuses.
Clearly the response to MP Preet Gill does little to address these serious concerns and our information is that the University actually went ahead with signing off on the phase 2 expansion in Dubai despite ongoing controversies over academic freedom, human rights, and the safety of staff and students. Indeed, as the response was simply copied from a previous email it appears to be little more than a lazy copy of an already vacuous response to BUCU. We continue to call on the University to meet with all of the campus trade unions to discuss staff and student safety, academic freedom, and worker’s rights in Dubai positively and constructively.
We will share Tim Jones’ “plagiarism score” with our local MP to show that the response contains no new information, and will continue to do all we can to obtain more information. In the meantime, we ask all staff and students to support the ongoing boycott campaign in any way you can, and to please sign the following open letter: