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University of Bath staff and students to protest next week if no resignations

22 November 2017

Staff at the University of Bath will protest at a meeting of the university's main governing body next week if there are not sweeping changes at the top

At a meeting today, that had to be delayed as staff filled the main venue and people moved into an overspill room, staff said they will join students in protests outside the university council meeting on Thursday (30 November). Staff also unanimously supported a motion that called for the vice-chancellor, Dame Glynis Breakwell, and chair of council, Thomas Sheppard, to "resign with immediate effect".

Today's meeting was the first opportunity for staff to meet following a damning report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) into senior pay and governance at the university.

The report made 13 recommendations for improvements, specifically in connection with its remuneration committee (which sets the vice-chancellor's pay) and governance. As well as chairing council, Sheppard heads up the remuneration committee which until recently included Breakwell*.

The council meeting will take place at 4pm on Thursday in the Wessex House Council Chamber. Council is the governing body of the university with responsibility for the institution's finances and the conduct of the university's affairs.

President of Bath UCU Dr Michael Carley said: 'Just how difficult the last few months have been for staff at the university was laid bare today. Hundreds of staff members from all parts of the university turned up and have made it quite clear they have absolutely no confidence in the vice-chancellor or chair of council. Some staff were just clearly relieved to finally be able to speak out. Many spoke of a culture of fear that has haunted the institution.

'We need a swift change at the top and if that change is not forthcoming we will be joining students next week to lobby the university's council calling for the resignation of the vice-chancellor and chair of council and the remuneration committee.'

* Last month UCU said that the belated removal of vice-chancellor Dame Glynis Breakwell from the committee that sets her pay was a "worthless stunt" without proper reform. It has since been revealed that she received a £17,500 rise last year taking her salary and benefits package up to £468,500.

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