The Dogs of Bristol Bark

 In the nightmare of the dark
 All the dogs of Bristol bark
 (not quite) Auden

The fear that stalks Warwick and Imperial has spread like distemper to Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences. Once again the poisoned purse of grant money is behind the browbeating and now sacking of a lecturer, Dr Alison Hayman.

Apparently it is now compulsory to get promotion at Bristol or face dismissal, which raises the interesting question of how far this process is supposed to continue and how many staff the University will actually finish up with: after all, the higher you go the fewer the vacancies. Barking Bristol indeed.

Dr Hayman was placed under a capability procedure after it was decided that her future promotion depended on obtaining large amounts of grant money. After subjection to the insidious bullying of review meetings she was put under warning. One can easily imagine the hideous stress of such a position and realise the stress on an academic would be intolerable and destroy any prospect of achieving what the University wanted. Inevitably she was sacked.

How this squares with information that 400 other academic staff members have zero grant money is a mystery known only to the Bristol managers who dreamt up this nightmare for their staff. It seems those at Bristol who have the reason of hamsters and the compassion of hyenas care not for the damage they do to the livelihood and career of a committed member of their academic staff.

Why, a fair minded person might ask, is this determination to treat academic staff like cattle spreading through our universities? Like foot and mouth it appears to be a particularly virulent disease, one that risks silencing the mouths of academics and cutting the feet from underneath our education system. The old dogs at Bristol seem to have learned one new trick.

Sign the petition to reinstate Dr Hayman here.

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