The Ugly Duckling

Ratty’s twitching snout has spotted another potential award, a race equality charter mark, which is something like the Athena SWAN he’s been crowing about lately, the award for widening participation but more an ugly duckling with this VC’s track record. Apparently a “self assessment team” will examine KU’s race equality data, presumably drawing on the race equality focus groups that are now running across the faculties. No doubt the team will give Kingston a clean report with only minor areas to be addressed (so as not to appear too perfect), even though some of these focus groups are suggesting all is not so equal amongst minorities here.

One minority for whom inequality reigns is the Grade 10 academic staff who remain as Principal Lecturers. Those unfortunate few still face demotion and a large salary cut should they not pass through the shimmering gateway to AP-land, where salaries at least do not go down, even if not up. Imagine if PLs were BME or female staff. There would have been an outcry, condemnation in the national newspapers, with a rapid legal challenge forcing the University to revoke such an outrage. The University gets away with this discrimination because the individuals affected do not fall into any accepted minority group. Yet it is discrimination all the same. Maybe this should be raised at these focus groups, though we could expect the usual mealy-mouthed response from the Riverhouse Rat. What else from a rodent?

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