If more evidence was needed of the ongoing turmoil at the top of KU and the great disillusionment that has set in with the VCship of Gold Commander Steven ‘Two Jobs’ Spier, the following could be offered in Court, M ‘Lud. A brief news item quietly slipped out by the Uni Comms mob on 21 June revealed that SLT Silver veteran and Deputy VC Prof Martyn Jones has joined the growing number of managers who have had enough of Spier and his Clown House Strategy obsessions. Jones has handed in his resignation and is stepping down this autumn. Also going is the Uni Clerk Andrew Boggs. The lifeboat is getting crowded.
Jonesy the Silver surfer first joined KU after spells at the University of Kent and University of Wales. He was appointed Pro-VC for External Affairs at KU in 2007 and was promoted to Deputy VC in 2014. Prior to his time in academia he was in the British Army, something that impressed Vice-Clown Spier enormously (during lockdown, it was Jones who apparently gave Spier the idea of having senior managers assume military ranks to manage the emergency, such as ‘Gold Commander’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ status, and so on, the kind of thing military-types seem to love). Spier and Jones also shared a common distaste for trade unions, and often moaned about how ‘ungrateful’ staff are.
However, as numerous KU managers have found, including various members of the SLT, Vice-Admiral Speer, who sees himself as one of the world’s greatest architects and as an expert on Swiss cheeses, likes to bang on about skills but has very few himself of any worth, especially managerial ones. He prefers to dump (sorry, ‘delegate’) much of the hard work of running KU on others. Poor old Prof Jonesy ended up doing loads of work. Just look at all his responsibilities while he was leading KU’s Directorate for Corporate Services: he had to manage Governance, Legal services, Brand and Communications, Public Affairs, Health and Safety, Risk and Business Continuity, as well as Development, Alumni Relations and Engagement. According to those in the know, the poor old Silver-haired Prof simply became worn down by the sheer burden of all this, and increasingly pissed off and resentful at the all the work Commandant Speer kept pushing his way. Who can blame him?
But Spiersy has clearly been thrown off course by the impending departure of another of his Silver workhorses. After all, he relies on the SLT lapdogs to give him new ideas and to massage his ego about the Clown House Strategy and ‘Future Skills’, which has badly lost its momentum in recent months. To add insult to injury, the news release included a notably petulant comment by Spier about the loss of his Deputy. All he could offer was that Prof Jones had made ‘a significant contribution to the University across a number of years’ and he wished him well. Oh yeah?
The news release added that, with his impending departure, and also that of University Clerk Andrew Boggs, the Uni will be ‘repurposing’ (one of Spier’s favourite words) the Deputy VC role to that of ‘University Secretary’. According to our sources, the ‘Secretary’ (who is yet to be appointed) will also be heavily involved in the ‘People Plan’, another incredibly exciting but meaningless plan dreamt up by Spier and a member of the SLT, as the Vice-Clown is getting desperate to get the Clown House Strategy back on track. We have had Plan 2020. Plan 2030. Now the People Plan. We can’t wait. Plans ahoy!