Tales of the riverbank – Christmas edition

God help ye wretched gentlemen
He’ll fill you with dismay
For Jools’s bad behaviour
Will never go away
He’s possessed with Satan’s power
He’ll lead your lives astray
O tidings of misery and hell

Dear Wretches (Ho ho ho ho ho)

Hope you like my little carol. Yes it’s that time of year again, and I’m going to make it a bad one! I was put in this job to save you all from a contented working life, to show you the true path to stress and unhappiness. Now to my usual bollocks. 

Open Meetings: I have now completed a round of open meetings – yawn. A wide range of issues have been brought up – but no one complained about my bullying nature. They wouldn’t dare!

One of the areas which has been raised is the process reviews, shorthand for getting rid of staff. I am very aware that the Finance and IT areas of the University are undergoing “consultation” (who’ll get the sack) and that this is an uncertain time for colleagues who are affected but I want to assure colleagues that I really don’t give a stuff.

Those that attended the sessions have been positive about the format – well they know what would happen to them if they weren’t.  However, I am interested, very interested in hearing from those who did not, particularly if they think that the format does not work and if there is a better way of enabling staff to ask about their concerns. Please email me at to saynothingbad@kingston.ac.uk if you have any suggestions.

Vision and Future: I hope that the piece in the last newsletter about the “vision” helped you understand that the University is all over the place. I have been told that I paint a gloomy picture of  the future. I think we have to be brutal… er, realistic, but I am not at all gloomy, not on my salary. Kingston pays me a wonderful income.

We really do give people futures and choices in a way that few other universities do. You have the choice to suffer under me, or quit, and we should be proud of it. As I said in the previous newsletter we will carry on being a different sort of university, more bullying than the rest, and there’s some stiff competition out there. But we will not compromise on management, or on providing a stressful environment for our students and staff.

Management gap: We want to be seen as a university that leads on some key issues. One is the “management gap”. Across the country there are BEM (Brutal and Execrable Management) managers and ordinary namby pamby ones. We want to drive out the big girl’s blouses and get some more thugs in.

Kingston was going to be known as a university which is proudly diverse. Then I came along and decided to kick out the low graders. At a recent graduate student recruitment event I said to the potential applicants that if their idea of university was a place of learning and wisdom, relaxed and happy staff in a position to support students well, pleasant buildings with good facilities, and students who want to learn, they would not be happy at Kingston. If they wanted one of the most hostile management cultures in the country, students from the best backgrounds with the highest grades, ideas of every level of triviality, in a wretched depressed community with dancing on Kingston’s grave, then they would join the other poor souls at Kingston.

Times Higher Awards: The Times Higher Awards were disappointing – bastards! I thought one of our entries could win, after all we fooled those soppy left wing saps at the Guardian. We were commended for our Widening Participation initiative so we fooled them a bit. Perhaps there is a widening participation for A grades only award. Meanwhile I’ll pretend that being short-listed is a real accolade. Kingston is doing innovative, difficult things, shedding staff as fast as I can, and enabling students to create businesses – well, none of them can get jobs.

Welcomes and Thanks: Finally, welcome to Matthew Hilton our new DVC (Operations)/University Secretary/Further Management Layer who starts today. Matthew comes from BIS where he was Director of Cuts to Higher Education. He will be getting around the University meeting people over the next few weeks, as well as learning to threaten staff (training will be given). I am very grateful to Simon Harrison (wtf does he do?) and Rajiv Sharma-Drake (Bully of the Year contender) who picked up responsibility for the COO (whatever that is) and University Secretary roles following Rear End Neil Latham’s departure – I know how to choose them don’t I?? They have shown that we have real incompetence in depth at Kingston and have done a great job keeping things going downhill. It makes my life much easier knowing that we have great people across the University who are always ready to go the extra mile and ensure that the right things happen. They’ll be happening to you really soon now.

So, Kingston is a great place, I have no reason to be gloomy (salary, benefits, etc), but we do have to be pernicious.  It is now December so I can say, have a great break over Christmas and New Year. It could be your last.

Yours

Jools (Ho ho ho ho ho …. Tis the season to be a bully, falalalalah lalalala)

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