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Despair, heartbreak and moral disgust: covid reflections

Published: 30th September, 2020

A University of Leicester employee former University of Leicester employee offers some personal reflections

One of the hardest things about being made redundant at University of Leicester, during the Covid disaster, was witnessing the despair of lowly paid colleagues losing their jobs too. It was also heartbreaking to have to discontinue my charity donations. I’m not a Christian but I believe that we should (within our means) donate a percentage of our earnings to the unfortunate.

During my appeal hearing I made an ethical plea for retaining my job (citing the prospect of long term unemployment, etc.) to a person who earns over £100,000 each year, one of far too many in higher education. To put this in context, I earned less than one-fifth of that, just £19,000 per annum. And this is where my love for humanity turns into moral disgust. The ‘business’ of Higher Education, its purpose, is to serve future generations. It is not, or should not be, to consolidate the wealth and status of the privileged few.

I don’t submit to the libertarian ethos that talent should be exponentially rewarded (and usually at the expense of other people). Yesterday, I received a moving letter from a former student asking for financial help. It is a tragic story. I am not now in a position to help but I will do my best via other channels. I’m not virtue signalling. I am trying to show (as I see it) why Higher Education would do better to reward less the people at the top. Open the doors at the bottom and see how the light shines forth.