As the Kingston Gold Commander’s rubbish leadership limps on and the Uni faces the autumn teaching block with many students defying KU’s half-hearted face covering guidance, potentially putting staff and students at serious risk, Spiersy is uninterested in such details, and delegates his deputies to deal with all such ‘trivialities’. Instead, Admiral Spier remains determined to pursue his broader Uni-cum-Poly vision, no matter what happens.
But wait. All is not going to plan. There has now been further confirmation for staff of how utterly stupid the VC and members of his Senior-Lack-of-Leadership Team really are.
After two (yes, two) ‘consultations’ in FBSS on the issue, the SLLT has allowed the FBSS Dean (Jill ‘what’s-the-point-of’human-rights’ Schofield) to close undergraduate Politics, which had been the real plan all along, despite her denials. Yet, in the recent Guardian University Guide 2022, published on Saturday 11 Sept, KU Politics, ranked 61st in 2021, has risen dramatically to 17th in 2022, a ranking that makes it one of the leading Politics departments in the whole country. Or, it would have been, had it not been ruthlessly axed. It’s a massive embarrassment for Jill The Scoff and, above all, for the completely rudderless strategy being pursued by Vice Admiral Spier and his Team of Senile Leaders.
As soon as the Guardian results were published, Spier’s spinners quickly swung into action, with two separate emails to staff the same day (Saturday) and another one from the VC himself the very next day (Sunday 12 Sept), where the results were selectively spun to present KU as the best University in the whole of London, if not the Universe. The message from Spier’s spinners, repeated over and over, was that KU overall has ‘maintained its position as one of the top 50 institutions in the country’, KU was supporting students to become graduates ‘ready to make a real difference in society’, and that this was obviously the result of the Gold Admiral’s ‘ambitious strategy to secure our future’.
But hold on there, shipmates. Something major was missing here, and it was a rather big and obvious omission. What the VC’s spin machine failed to mention was another hugely embarrassing fact: the rather inconvenient news that the Guardian University Guide had revealed that KU has dropped 5 places overall to 45, from a previous position of 40. Red faces all round. Apart from the VC’s, of course, which has maintained its deathly grey pallor (‘how am I going to spin this to the Board of Governors?’).
Compiled by Matt Highly-Renumerated, who previously worked for KU and had often spun the results to favour his then employer, the Guardian Guide showed this time around that Kingston has, in reality, been going backwards and declining in its general performance under the Vice Goldster. So much for ‘securing our future’!
There was worse to come. A week later, on Sunday 19 Sept, the Sunday Times published its Good University Guide 2022. The Gold Admiral’s spin machine was quickly on the case again, although the tone was notably less triumphant and very little was said. This was hardly surprising. Although teaching quality was up, research quality and student experience remained firmly stuck in the mud and unchanged, while other key measures, such as graduate prospects, student-staff ratio and services/facilities spending, were down. There was very little positive news that Spier’s spinners could spin out of this. And, in fact, there were two hugely embarrassing aspects to the Times commentary on Kingston: the health, social care and education Faculty, run jointly with St. George’s, was praised, which overlooked the fact that Kingston and St. George’s recently had a major falling-out and have agreed to split and go their separate ways. As Dissenter revealed recently, St. George’s senior leaders became completely fed up and disillusioned with Spier’s inept VC-ship and what they saw as his blatant lies.
The other piece of the Times commentary which has caused red faces at SLLT level was the following statement: ‘In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, art subjects achieved some of the best results alongside history and english’. Whoa! Wait a minute. This was not what the vaccuous VC or Spier’s spin machine wanted to hear. Why? Because a recent ‘consultation’ in Kingston School of Art (KSA) had just pushed through the nasty little plan of KSA Dean Mandy Who-She (a so-called ‘restructure’ plan upheld by Spier) to axe history provision at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with three historians ruthlessly culled and dumped on the roadside. According to Dissenter’s sources, the VC was especially pissed off that this had emerged very publicly again, following two front-page stories on the same theme in the local Surrey Comet over the summer, and a huge outcry on social media. The teaching union UCU, which Spier loathes, had also raised the issue over and over.
There was more unwelcome news for our blundering and useless VC. The dramatic news emerged this month that the University’s Registrar and Secretary, Keith Brennan, known for his hard-working approach and one of the more pleasant members of the SLLT, has resigned. As far as Dissenter understands it from reliable sources, Brennan had been very unhappy with the VC’s leadership for months and finally had a major falling out with Spiersy. Brennan had wanted to leave early in the summer, but he was persuaded to stay on to (reluctantly) oversee the clearing campaign during the summer.
When a University loses somebody of Brennan’s long experience and stature, you know its in trouble. It also raises major questions about the whole strategic direction the VC is taking Kingston in and how long he can remain as VC. Quite how he has explained all this to the Board of Governors (BOG) is not clear. He wined and dined them at a special BOG dinner in June. But some of the BOGsters already had major doubts about Spier’s lack of leadership skills, and the latest revelations will not be helpful. The league table setbacks, and now a top resignation, will not have reassured them that the Golden Admiral is the right man for KU’s future. Far from being gold and shiny, Spier looks increasingly like a dull and grubby VC living on borrowed time. As one (very reliable) source close to the top told Dissenter: ‘The boss has lost all credibility and he knows it. Nobody believes a thing he says anymore and he looks more and more isolated. Even his own SLT bitch about him behind his back. Mackintosh, Wortham and all the rest think he’s an idiot, but they remain loyal because their own jobs could be on the line if he gets the push’.
Make of this what you will. But always remember that your VC has no regard for KU staff, despite what he claims. He will do his best to protect himself, and himself only.