The art of dumping on your staff

So now you know. On the morning of Thursday 1st July a special email was sent to all KU staff announcing more change and a major restructure of Faculties. Back in March, when Dissenter revealed that the FBSS and KSA Deans had drawn up Restructure plans and job culls, we also warned you that KU’s self-proclaimed ‘Gold’ Commander, Prof. Steven ‘Polyversity’ Spier, had more nasty surprises in store.

The full extent of some of these has now became very apparent. At first, Vice-Admiral Spiersy was going to get two SLT Deans to make the announcement. Then the plan was changed to have KU’s very own Professor of Sleeping (around) Studies, Simon ‘Shagpile’ Worthless, to do the deed. But then, given the gravity of the announcement, it was decided that Professor Jenny Higham, of St. Georges, and Prof. Spier-spin, of KU, should instead issue a joint statement. The statement, headed ‘Future of HSCE and SEC Faculties’, has sent a chill across those Faculties, but has raised some cheers at St. Georges.

What’s the real story behind it all? As ever, Dissenter can help here, as we have gained some deep insights into the situation at St. Georges over the last two years. As the statement reminded staff, the Joint Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education was created back in 1996 as a joint venture between St. Georges, University of London, and Kingston University. For about 10 years or so, everything seemed to be going well. But, as Kingston fell more and more into a huge financial pit, which became ever more dire under Spiersy’s useless and incompetent leadership, St. Georges became more and more uneasy about the crappy decision-making and general strategic lack of direction of the University they were lumbered with as a partner. The ‘partnership’ appeared to have two parties heading in opposite directions, each dragging the other along in grumpy protest.

Things came to a head in 2018-19. Execs at St. Georges accused Kingston’s SLT of not consulting them properly on key policies. In 2019, the two Universities therefore agreed to review their badly faltering partnership. As the joint email statement from Higham and Spiersy delicately put it, ‘in light of significant changes over recent years to the leadership and stategic priorities’ of St. Georges and KU, it has been decided to ‘dissolve’ the Joint Faculty, with 18 months notice starting 31st July, 2021, and the dissolution taking effect from 1st August 2022.

Mark our words: this is a huge change for both Unis and will result in major restructuring at Kingston. But it will come more as a sigh of relief for St. Georges, whose executive leaders had become utterly fed up with the piss-poor management and disastrous leadership skills at the top of KU.

For Kingston and its weary and beleaguered staff, it’s going to mean a new wave of Spiersy’s favourite new management toy, the ‘consultation’, and it will also mean enforced redundancies in the Faculties most affected. It will result in a new Faculty being created, headed up by the oldest man in the world, Dr. Dave ‘Mack the Knife’ Mackintosh, who has agreed to stay on at the Uni for a while (some of his enemies at the top were hoping he would sod off and take retirement, but Spiersy has persuaded him to oversee the new Faculty and get it bedded in). SEC will therefore get a new Dean and have ‘a more technological focus’. Clearly, the VC’s desire of just two years ago to have evenly-sized Faculties across the Uni has been put into the deep freezer.

Another casualty of the changes is Prof. Andy ‘Handy Andy’ Kent, who once had his eye on the VC’s job, but who has now announced his retirement (he will go later this year). Despite Spiersy’s warm words, there have been some serious tensions between the pair in recent times, and the word on the street is that both men have stabbed one another in the back on a number of occasions to other members of the Senior Lack-of-Leadership Team. Kent and his close supporters have been deeply frustrated over the VC’s erratic decisions and his obsessions with egotistical ‘legacy’ projects.

The S.S. Kingston remains stuck on the sandbanks, and Admiral Spiersy thinks he can get it afloat again with Plan 2020’s replacement, KU22 Plus (or Plus Plus, as his closer advisers now view it after further add-ons). There will be a lot of pain in the process. Commandant Spier won’t be held accountable for his rubbish policies, of course, and in the coming months he will continue to dump on his long-suffering staff. Those that still have their jobs, that is.

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