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Open Letter to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor

Published: 23rd July, 2020

To add you signature to this Open Letter follow this link. [To see the response, received on 29 July, see here.]

23 July 2020

Dear Professor Canagarajah and Lord Willetts

The University of Leicester is ONE community, and now, more than ever, we must stand together and support one another as we face the teaching, research and personal challenges presented by COVID-19. We write as the precariously employed of this university community, and our friends and supporters both at the University of Leicester and across the Higher Education sector.

Each and every day, we work together to create a successful and vibrant research and education community. This ethos has been palpable during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during which our university community has successfully come together for the benefit of our students and this institution. Yet, as staff, the security and future prospects of our employment vary greatly. Astonishingly, higher education is second only to hospitality as the most casualised sector of the UK economy. Universities and colleges are twice as likely to use zero-hours contracts than other workplaces. Within the UK higher education sector, one third of academic staff and two-thirds of research staff are on fixed-term contracts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks facing precarious colleagues are ever increasing, and are disproportionally affecting precariously-employed, first-generation professionals, ethnic minority and women academics, as well as those with caring responsibilities or health concerns. At the University of Leicester, colleagues on precarious contracts are seeing extensions and contract renewals disappear, which means that their livelihoods and career opportunities are paused or cancelled, because of the way our institution and higher education in this country is responding to the current crisis. Compounding the plight of Leicester’s precarious workers, the vast majority of Unitemps-employed staff were not furloughed, despite better examples from other institutions who took steps to support these employees. All of this poses a grave threat both to the individuals themselves and to widespread industry efforts to diversify academia and reduce pay and achievement gaps due to historical inequities.

Over the coming months Leicester colleagues will pull together to deliver “ignite”, a blended model of digital and on-campus learning. We all want to deliver an exceptional educational experience for our students, but developing effective dual-delivery courses for the first time is going to require an immense effort from academic, non-academic, technical and professional services staff that is significantly above our currently allocated workload, particularly without the retention of precariously employed staff. We need all our educational experts working together to manage this monumental shift in teaching and learning. Now is not the time for the university to abandon teaching- and research-critical activities by subjecting hardworking staff to job losses. We call on the University of Leicester to hold an independent review of the role of precarious workers at the University of Leicester, including the justification for these insecure contracts.

We, the undersigned, believe that it is of utmost importance to support precarious colleagues through the coming months and years ahead. These staff are crucial partners in meeting our student-facing obligations and retaining the institutional research and teaching expertise that will otherwise be pushed out of academia due to the misfortune of current global events. Our precarious colleagues deserve our support, our mentorship, and our guidance, and the future of Higher Education desperately needs these exceptional individuals, who have demonstrated their full commitment to academic pursuits despite adverse circumstances. These colleagues are – in many cases literally – the future generation that all of us, including Professor Canagarajah, wish to preserve the University of Leicester for.

Signed: [click here to sign.]

Prof. Stephen Pollock, Viscount Hanworth and Professor Emeritus of Econometrics and Computational Statistics, University of Leicester

Jonathan Ashworth, MP

Cllr Adam Clarke FRSA, Deputy City Mayor and Councillor for Aylestone, Leicester City Council

Cllr Dr Lynn Moore, Councillor for Knighton, Leicester City Council

Cllr Patrick Kitterick, Councillor for Castle Ward, Leicester City Council

Cllr Danny Myers, Councillor for Castle Ward, Leicester City Council 

Cllr Lindsay Broadwell, Councillor for Western Ward, Leicester City Council

Cllr Gary O’Donnell, Councillor for Western Ward Leicester City Council

Cllr Laurie Needham, Chair of Charnwood Borough Council and Chair of Charnwood Green Party

Cllr Jacky Nangreave, Councillor for Westcotes, Leicester City Council 

Cllr Ross Wilmott Councillor for Rushey Mead, Leicester City Council 

Dr Jo Grady, General Secretary UCU 

Mia Nembhard, President, Leicester Students Union

Adnan Rahman, Education Officer, Leicester Students Union

Hannah Belcher, Sports Officer, Leicester Students Union

Karli Wagener, Wellbeing Officer, Leicester Students Union

Elle Phipps, Activities Officer, Leicester Students Union

Prof. Simon Lilley, Professor of Information and Organisation, University of Leicester

Prof. Steve Milan, Professor of Heliospheric Physics, Radio & Space Plasma, University of Leicester

Prof. Caroline Upton, Professor of Environmental Geographies, University of Leicester

Prof. Clare Madge, Professor Emeritus, Geography, University of Leicester

Prof Susan Page, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Leicester

Prof. Anne-marie Greene, Professor of Work, Employment and Diversity, University of Leicester

Prof. Gavin Brown, Professor of Political Geography and Sexualities & LGBT Equalities officer, Leicester UCU

Dr Sarah Seaton, Chair of Leicester UCU, University of Leicester

Dr Emma Battell Lowman, Vice-Chair Leicester UCU, Teaching Fellow in History of the Americas, University of Leicester

Dr Gareth Brown, Co-Secretary, Leicester UCU, University of Leicester

Dr Gabby Provan, Leicester UCU Anti-Casualisation officer

Rashida Vora, Equalities officer, Leicester UCU, University of Leicester

Sharron Sturgess, Disability Equalities officer, Leicester UCU, University of Leicester

Dr David Harvie, Communications officer, Leicester UCU, University of Leicester

Keir Birchall, Leicester UCU Students Union Liaison Officer & PhD Student, University of Leicester

Robin Clarke, rep for academic related and professional services staff, Leicester UCU, University of Leicester

Chris Willars, President of Leicester & District Trades Union Council

Andrea Burford, Branch Secretary, Unite Community Leicestershire 

Peter Flack, Chair Leicester Unite Community Branch, Chair of Leicester Everybody’s Reading Festival. 

Tony Church, vice-chair Unite Community Leicester and Leicestershire and former secretary of Leicester and District Trades Union Council and life member

Mark Mizzen, Secretary, Leicester Unemployed Workers Centre Limited

Michael Barker, Unison steward and Assistant Secretary of the Leicester and Districts Trade Union Council

Lindsey Morgan Leicester Socialist Party Branch Secretary, Secretary of Safety First Leics and Unite Community member 

Mike Thompson, Vice President Leicester & District Trades Union Council

Tom Barker, Unison Steward, Save Our NHS Leicestershire Secretary

Paul Henderson, Retired Member of Staff, University of Leicester 

Rebecca Linnett, PhD candidate, Department of Health Sciences

Dr. Furaha Asani, University of Leicester Unitemps worker

Millie Roonay, University of Leicester Undergraduate Student

Liz Yeates, University of Leicester undergraduate student

Dr Paul Martin, Unitemps Associate tutor

Dr Stefano Bertea, Law School, University of Leicester

Tessa Warrington, Unite member

Dr Emi Mise, University of Leicester

Dr Deborah Toner, Associate Professor of History, University of Leicester 

Keith Nockels, Academic Librarian, University of Leicester, and UCU rep for the University Library

Dr Alex Patel, Educational Developer, University of Leicester

Dr. Jacqueline Sánchez Taylor, 20 years a Lecturer in Sociology, currently at University of Leicester.

Dr Claire Jenkins UoL

Dr Zoe Groves, Lecturer in History, University of Leicester

Dr Jenny Stewart (fixed-term teaching fellow until June 30 2020 – now unemployed)

Dr Robert James Sutton, Teaching Fellow, University of Leicester

Dr. Lin Feng, School of Arts, University of Leicester

Dr Guy Barefoot, University of Leicester

Dr Stephanie Bowry, Teaching Fellow (fixed-term)

Dr. Giovanna Puppin, Lecturer, School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester

Dr Gozde Naiboglu, University of Leicester

Ruth Luthi-Carter, Professor of Neurobiology of Behaviour and LUCU Rep, Univ. of Leicester 

Dr Mary Ann Lund, School of Arts

Martín Agnone, Languages at Leicester Coordinator

Carmen (Teaching Fellow in Spanish)

Nick Adkins, Leicester UCU co-secretary

Selina Lock, Library research Services Consultant, University of Leicester

Adam Millar, PhD Candidate, University of Leicester

Cllr. Sharmen Rahman

Jacob Drew, Leicester University Student 

Olivia Taylor, PhD student, School of Criminology

Dr Mary Ann Lund, School of Arts, University of Leicester

Prof John E Lees, University of Leicester

Dr Miriam Gill, VCLL, Unitemps associate lecturer

Dr Sophie Cooper, Teaching Fellow in Irish History, University of Leicester

Dr Neil Humpage, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester

Professor Phil Shaw, School of Arts, University of Leicester

Max John, PhD student, University of Leicester

Dr. Julian North, School of Arts, University of Leicester

Maria Guarnieri, University of Leicester

Dr Nataly Papadopoulou, LLB (Leicester), PhD (Leicester) (currently fixed-term Law Lecturer at QMUL)

Dr Helen Collins, Research Assistant, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Maria Berghs, Dr., De Montfort University

Dr Lucy Faire,  Lecturer in Humanities and Arts, University of Leicester

Dr Briony Pulford, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Leicester

Dr Agneta M-L Svalberg, Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics

Ashley J. Armstrong, Library Assistant 

Dr Mike Mulheran Lecturer University of Leicester Medical School 

Dr Matt Wilde, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Leicester

Dr Matt Wilde, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Leicester

Arwen Joyce, GTA, Leicester Law School

Dr Tom Stallard, University of Leicester

Dr Maite Usoz de la Fuente, Lecturer in Spanish, University of Leicester

Emma Westbrook, MA student 

Natasha Krywald BCAv

Prof. Andrew Colman, Professor of Psychology, University of Leicester

Jarvis Suslowicz, University of Leicester graduate

Dr Kathleen Bell, formerly Associate Professor of Creative Writing at De Montfort University, former external examiner at Vaughan College and University of Leicester 

Evan Whelan, President of the UoL Marxist Society

Ayman OMar, Assistant professor of finance, University of Leicester

Pablo Cortes, professor of civil justice, UoL

Dr Carolyn Walker, Associate Tutor (& Unitemps worker), MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics

Dr Patrick White, Associate Professor, University of Leicester

Andrea Vear. Administrator. School of Arts. 

Sophie Chessman-Smith, UoL alumni. 

Jose C. Carvajal Lopez, Lecturer in Historical Archaeology, University of Leicester 

Harrison Jowett, Student, University of Leicester 

Dr Kate Loveman, Associate Professor in English, University of Leicester

Edward Jones, Leicester Law School

Ross Gibson, branch officer, Strathclyde UCU

Dr Emma Butcher, University of Leicester 

Jon Lapington, Professor of Space Physics, University of Leicester

Gillian Willingale, Library Assistant

Miss Esme Bonner, recent graduate 

Jennifer Bergevin, Teaching Fellow, University of Leicester 

Luke Shaw, Undergraduate Student, University of Leicester 

Laura Albertini, PhD GTA, University of Leicester 

Dr Anthony O’Tierney, Lecturer in Accounting and Finance, University of Leicester

Terese Bird, Leicester Medical School

Pip Brown, undergraduate student

Robert Greenhill, Alumnus, University Of Leicester 

Dr Raul Carstocea, Lecturer in Modern European History, University of Leicester 

Ms Ellie Rowley-Conwy R&R project at Palace of Westminster

Ruth R. N. Fraser, Quaker Chaplain to Leicester Unoversity


Martín Agnone, Languages at Leicester Coordinator 

Simon Robinson, President, Leicester District, National Education Union

Tim Clamp, Loughborough Labour Party Secretary, NEU Young Workers national council member

Cathi Rae… currently an MA student

Nichola Plumtree, Ms, NEU member

Michaelina Jakala, PhD, CovEntry

Dr Alexandra Woodall, Lecturer in Arts Management, University of Sheffield

Dr Caren Frosch, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Leicester 

K Jenkin NEU member

Jonathan Taylor, Creative Writing 

Katie Morris, University of Leicester Alumna

Bethan Jones, Ms, Student

James Butler, Mr, 2020 graduate

Marianne Mincher, Undergraduate Student, University of Leicester

Megan Pearson, Law School PhD student, unitemps worker

Mr. Christopher Stocker, University of Leicester

Jane John 

Stephen Hopkins, Dr University of Leicester

Dr Naomi Hetherington, University Tutor, University of Sheffield

Dr Elizabeth Howard-Ahern (formerly UoL) 

Rachel Downey, Ms, ANU

Amy Shapiro, former University of Leicester student

Dr Alice Samson 

Dr Alistair Fryatt, Research associate, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Leicester

Dr Gozde Naiboglu, University of Leicester

Aneesah Yousuf, Student, University of Leicester 

Ellie EPridgeon, Uni of Leicester, Vaughan Centre

Briony Neilson, sessional academic, University of Sydney

Lauren M Foster, MA graduate, University of Leicester

Dr Mandi Jamalian 

Dr Jo Appleby, Associate Professor of Archaeology

Mel Jones, Mx, PhD Researcher, Geography, University of Leicester

Dr Angela Muir, Lecturer in British Social and Cultural History, University of Leicester 

Nicola Pratt, Reader, University of Warwick

Ed Vollans, Teaching Fellow, , University of Leicester 

Dr Alan Bevington, Associate Professor in Renal Biochemistry, University of Leicester

Gibson Burrell, Professor of Organization Theory, Universities of Manchester and Leicester

Sue Reilly.  Student

Ewan Kissane

Amy Zala, Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD Researcher, University of Leicester

Amy Ryall, University of Sheffield

Dr Jess Shahan, Teaching Fellow in IR, University of Leicester

Guillaume Wilemme, Lecturer, ULSB

Dr Mrunmayee Satam (worked as an Associate Tutor at UoL from 2017-19)

Dr Jen Walklate, Lecturer, University of Aberdeen (MA and PhD, Leicester, former fixed term Teaching Fellow, Leicester)

Ellen Bishop. PhD Researcher, UoL

William Wolstenholme, postgrad student Uni of Leeds, former student of Uni of Leicester 

Matthew Field- former student (2016-2019)

Dr Tom Harvey, Lecturer in Geosciences, University of Leicester

Dan Orr, Women’s Officer, Leicester Students’ Union

Lewis Collins, Dr., University of Leicester Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

Jim Roberts, Honorary Fellow, University of Leicester

Emily Duckett, former University of Leicester student

Andreas Anastasiou, Teaching Fellow, University of Leicester

Laila Eldarwish, Miss, graduate 2020

Rebecca Hughes, student

Dr Zalfa Feghali, Lecturer in American Literature, University of Leicester

Martín Agnone, Languages at Leicester Coordinator

Dr Svenja Bethke, Lecturer in Modern European History, University of Leicester

Loveday Hodson, University of Leicester

Caitlin Davies, recent graduate 

Mark Harrison, Mr, Graduate

Chloe Smyth

Caroline Collins, BA (Hons), AFHEA, University of Derby 

Michael Guest.

Khushali Patel, BA Graduate 2020, Student 

Aneesha Hussain, Student at the University of Leicester 

Bronwyn James, former University of Leicester student 

Jonny Birch, former University of Leicester student 

Nozipho Dube, Miss, Class of 2020 Graduate

Dr Samuel Shaw, Open University (formerly University of Leicester, HAF)

(Emeritus Professor, Rev) William Myers

Minda Mahil, Undergraduate, UOL

Julie Archer, History Graduate, University of Leicester. 

Professor Jo Brewis, The Open University (ex UoL)

Arvinder Kandola, Branch Chair, Communist Party of Britain (Leicester)

Liz Blackshaw (former employee of UOL) 

Dave Deverick, Associate Tutor

Donald Provan, B.Sc Cand. Phil., Ph.D

Beatriz Sanchez-Cano, Dr, PDRA University of Leicester 

Dr Helen Eborall, University of Edinburgh (previously University of Leicester 2008-20) 

Dr Felicity James, School of Arts, University of Leicester 

Sean Coules

Samina Randall NEU

Samina Randall NEU

Dr Sally Horrocks, University of Leicester

Dr David Wharton, School of Education, University of Leicester 

Helen Clayson, Mrs, unite

Hayden Woods, Undergraduate, University of Leicester

Rebecca L

Dr Claire Sedgwick 

Dr Amy Jane Barnes , The Open University (prior to which I was precariously employed at the University of Leicester for nearly a decade)

Dr Matthew Winston, Teaching Fellow

Joseph Earley, Mr, PhD student Chemistry University of Leicester)

Dr Julian Wells (Economic History, LSE)

Peter Armstrong, professor emeritus, University of Leicester

Dr Delyth Edwards (former UoL postdoc)

Jane Greaves, professor, Cardiff university

Mark Fuller

Mary Edmunds Otter, Former Information Specialist, University of Leicester

Natasha Bailey, PhD student- School of History, University of Leicester 

Dr Patricia McManus, University of Brighton 

Peter Shukie, Lecturer, University Centre Blackburn College

Becky Talbott 

Theresa O’Keefe, Lecturer, University College Cork 

Dr Dr Hazel Kent (University of Leicester graduate)

Dr Steven Stanley, Cardiff UCU Chair Elect, Cardiff University

Dr John-Paul Smiley

Michael Reeve, Academic Skills Tutor, Leeds Beckett University

Felix Milan, Mr, Student

Jen McDerra, Ms, University of East Anglia

Dr Rebecca Styler, Associate Professor of English, University of Lincoln and former student + hourly-paid lecturer at University of Leicester

Dr Elizabeth Howard-Ahern 

Emily Duckett, former University of Leicester student.

Samantha Middleton

Dr Helen Baker, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Edge Hill University

Davey Ivens, DMU Unison.

Stephanie Hubbard, Dr, Dept of Health Sciences

Dr Michelle Harrison, School of Arts, University of Leicester

Pablo Cortes, professor of civil justice, UoL

Dr Rebecca Barnes, Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Dr Rebecca Styler, Associate Professor, Univ Lincoln, former student Univ Leicester

Dr Rebecca Styler, Associate Professor, Univ Lincoln, former student Univ Leicester

Dr Rebecca Styler, Associate Professor, Univ Lincoln, former student Univ Leicester

Dr Rachel Winter, clinical lecturer, Leicester Medical School

Dr Emma Butcher, University of Leicester

Theresa Butler 

Dr Eleanor Peters, Senior Lecturer

Prof. Sarah Knight, School of Arts

Melissa Cosgrove

Charlotte Mills, GTA, University of Leicester

Dr Kate Herrity (alumna of Leicester). University of Cambridge.

Ms Herne ( teacher and alumni of University of Leicester)

Dr Teresa Raventos, Research & Business Development Manager, University of Leicester

Dr Emma Staniland, UoL

Toby Lincoln Associate professor, University of Leicester

Amy Wood, University of Leicester graduate

Florence Heath

Melinda Phillips, Unite and GMB member

Lily Patrick – previous student & Leicester SU manager

Dr Joshua Stuart-Bennett

Laura Parsons, PhD researcher, De Montfort University

Ms Suzanne Barbalet

Dr Paul Youngman, retired member of staff, UOL

Julie Walton USDAW and Socialist Alternative member

Ms Kate Nicholls

Ms Jackson alumni

Sue Ryan

Dr Gurpreet Leader (local)

Raegan Oates

Junko Tamaki, Language Leader, Languages at Leicester, Modern Languages

Emilio Tuosto, Dr, University of Leicester


[Please sign: follow this link.]