Computer Laboratory

Alice Hutchings

29 October 2018

Dear Vice Chancellor,

I am unable to continue in good faith as a member of the University Council due to recent events. After much thought, I am resigning from the University Council, with immediate effect.

The Grace that was recently balloted intended to enfranchise the University’s research staff. Instead the outcome was a damning indication of how researchers in this University are perceived: as second class citizens. Research staff do so much for this University, yet receive little recognition for their many sacrifices and hard work.

As I informed the Council in the July 2018 meeting, I consider the amendment to be discriminatory, violating not only the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulation, but also the Equality Act. Council members have a duty to ensure that our policies and actions are not discriminatory. I feel that members of the Council have acted in breach of this duty, and therefore I cannot remain as a trustee in good faith.

I also request that there be a review of the amended Grace, as set out in Statute A, Chapter IX 1a, on the basis that it is illegal.

To avoid any doubt, my concerns are as follows:

1. Under the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention Of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, those on fixed term contracts—such as Research Associates—cannot be treated less favourably than other employees. If there is a qualifying period for those on fixed term contracts, there must be a qualifying period for *all* members of the Regent House.

2. The amendment introduces age discrimination, through the use of a qualifying period, and, as women are less likely to qualify as Regents (the retention of women in higher education is negatively correlated with seniority), indirect gender discrimination, as defined in the Equality Act. The arguments for a qualifying period before enfranchising Research Associates are baseless and are not supported by the evidence. Not only are they without merit, they are also not proportionate, and do not support a legitimate aim. Therefore, they are not valid justifications for discrimination under the Equality Act.

These arguments still hold even if a grandfathering clause were to be added (so that existing Regents would not be disenfranchised), and if the requirement for continuous service were to be removed.

Yours sincerely,
Alice Hutchings