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Hundreds of academics back no-confidence vote at Goldsmiths

Image: mikecphoto, via Shutterstock

College says it is committed to staff after protest vote among academics

Goldsmiths has said it is facing “unprecedented pressures and challenges” due to Covid-19 after more than 600 staff declared they had no confidence in senior management at the University of London institution.

A group of professors and academics at Goldsmiths, known as the Collective Change Working Group and the Professors’ Forum, said on 21 November that of the 698 academics who responded to its survey of more than 1,200 staff, 87 per cent expressed no confidence in the college’s senior management.

The vote was in response to the college’s proposed Covid-19 recovery framework, which the group said could lead to potential course or department closures and redundancies. The protest has no formal effect on the college’s governance.

A spokesperson for the institution said the college recognised that the year had been “an extremely difficult one for everyone at Goldsmiths and we’re sad to see a proportion of our 2000-strong staff community have taken this step as the college faces unprecedented pressures and challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The spokesperson added that the plans had “already been openly discussed with colleagues at over 50 meetings since May and we will ensure that there will be opportunities for the wider Goldsmiths community to get involved in the development of the detailed recovery plan”.

The no-confidence vote was backed by the University and College Union at Goldsmiths, which Research Professional News understands is balloting its members on industrial action over the fears about redundancies and restructuring.

The Goldsmiths spokesperson said its senior management were “committed to supporting colleagues and students as we continue to assess the full impact of Covid-19 alongside our underlying financial position so that we can build a recovery plan in 2021”.

They added: “Goldsmiths’ council will consider a number of factors including the need for financing and any associated changes which will set the college on a sustainable footing, including enhancing our teaching and learning, and delivering an outstanding student experience.”