Wednesday, June 01, 2011

UCU backs petition campaign: remove the "Big Society" from the AHRC delivery plan

Readers will already know of the petitions launched to remove the "Big Society" from the AHRC delivery plan. I am delighted to announce a further development: the University and College Union (UCU) has passed a motion in support of the aims of our petition. Research Fortnightly reports here:

"[. . .] Another topic on the congress agenda was that of academic freedom and democracy.The congress backed a motion condemning political interference in the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s research priorities. It follows a row over inclusion of the government’s 'Big Society' slogan in the council’s delivery plan, published in December. The motion says such references “pose a very serious threat to academic freedom” and calls on the HEC to launch a high-profile campaign on the subject." [. . .]"

Nearly 4,000 academics have supported this campaign followed by 30+ learned societies. The universities minister, David Willetts, also appears supportive. Now the UCU has joined the campaign. The AHRC has clearly "lost the argument" and should act appropriately without further delay.

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