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Closure at Birmingham
More from the IAA debacle.

And don't forget to sign that petition and send the email or letter.

The University also claims that the proposals ( have “the full support of the leadership within IAA”. We have no doubt that certain figures within the IAA support these proposals. Indeed, the process leading up to and including the current proposals appears almost entirely designed to save certain senior figures within the IAA from facing the consequences of their own dismal performance. This process has been disastrously mishandled from the outset:
  • The Review Panel included 3 senior members of IAA management, including the Head of School and Head of Archaeology, who were by definition of their positions instrumental in the supposed ‘underperformance’ of the IAA.
  • The Head of School made prior recommendations to the Head of College that pre-empted the outcome of the Review, and were made available to other members of the Review Panel, creating a clear risk that that the Review outcome would be prejudiced.
  • The Review lasted just one month.
  • The entire IAA academic staff were provided with one single 1-hour consultation meeting with the Review Panel during the Review.
  • Access by IAA staff to crucial data made available to the Review has been repeatedly denied by the University. A Freedom of Information request made by IAA staff seeking this information has been repeatedly delayed, going beyond both the standard time for requests to be dealt with, and an additional 10 working days which the University requested. BUCU also had all of this data redacted in the documentation it received as part of the redundancy consultations, and requests for the data have so far gone unheeded.
  • The outgoing Head of the IAA has now been rewarded with a move to become Head of Philosophy, Theology and Religion.
  • The outgoing Head of Archaeology has now been rewarded with a move to become the interim Head of the IAA.
  • No members of the professorial staff within the IAA have been put at risk of redundancy.
  • The University has flatly refused to follow its own Grievance procedure in response to a formal grievance raised by members of staff within the IAA regarding this process.
  • The University has written to all IAA students seeking to assure them that a petition to extend the 90-day staff consultation period is unnecessary.
  • The Head of College, Professor Michael Whitby, has directly contacted senior academics in Archaeology, Ancient History and Classics in other universities to deny claims that the University is ending activity in these areas.
  • And perhaps most remarkably, the University collected (and presumably destroyed) copies of the most recent Redbrick Newspaper that were left in their usual places around the University. This, we can only assume, was due to the front-page coverage of the proposal to close the IAA, and the damage that it was felt this would have had during the recent University Open Days!
BUCU are extremely worried about these developments. The Review of the IAA does not stand in isolation, it is the first of what we fear will be a number of reviews conducted across the College of Arts and Law. There is now an atmosphere of fear throughout the College, that similarly rapid reviews and more swingeing cuts will be implemented within other departments.
Sign the petition – Save the IAA –
The message seems clear... If you are considering a degree in archaeology - Birmingham may not be a sure footed choice just now. I would think twice. Unless of course they swallow pride and act sensibly.
If you are considering a degree in archaeology - then maybe it looks like birmingham are doing you a favour as there are still far too many courses left in the uk for the number of archaeology jobs?
Reason: your past is my past
There has probably been an oversupply of archaeology students compared to archaeology jobs for the past 30 years. Mind you, getting a degree didn't cost 50K back then.
I would be reticent to join an institution which treated its people so unfairly. Also: The Review of the IAA does not stand in isolation, it is the first of what we fear will be a number of reviews conducted across the College of Arts and Law.
I for one (as a current post-grad student at Birmingham) would stand up for both the academic staff and the standard of the courses. I think there are lots of victims in this scenario...I'm not sure that denegrating the efforts of students and non-professorial staff at this difficult time is particularly helpful....please support the campaign, but perhaps take a little care and consider the feelings of those caught up in these events who already feel very bruised and battered....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
I concur with Kevin - care is needed.. but support is also needed.

I have been in contact with the Professors at the heart of this and am personally not confident in the replies. Neither do I think they are painting a good picture by actions such as removing copies of a newspaper that they feel disagree with them..

My support will be with the archaeologists here.

thanks Kevin
Can't comment other than to say that using humour can often be a crueller act than any.

Of course no names are mentioned. but I think the message is clear.

I dare you not to laugh at the final lines.


Strange parallels though.. imagine a university that collected (and presumably destroyed) copies of the most recent university Newspaper due to the front-page coverage of the proposal to close the IAA,
Unfortunately the youtube video is down for copyright reasons!

It's also here though

@ Kevin, I apologise if any of my comments have been interpreted as denigrating the efforts of students and non-professorial staff. That was not my intention.

I was just intending to point out that the purpose of arts/social science degrees is not prim
Strangely - every other Hitler parody film is still up. some of them over three years old. One has to wonder if there has been a complaint. I wonder who would do such a thing

Thanks for the new one Onions.


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