Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Message of Thanks from Sheila Rowbotham

Message of Thanks from Sheila Rowbotham (May 20th)
(see previous post for more detail)

This is to thank you for writing in my support. Over 200 emails sent to the President Dean and Head of Social Science at Manchester were copied to me from all over the world from Hungary to Mexico, India to Brazil, the US to Ireland. Many people wrote at length.

[rowbotham-sheila.jpg]Your emails and letters have not only been very, very important to me personally, they have undoubtedly strengthened the case that the union can make.

The Facebook that the students set up which started all this off now has over 700 members and there have also been several articles in the press. The students also did a petition signed by students who had been taught by me or who had read my books and got over 150 signatures.

However on April 10th my Head of School told me I could not stay on to do a third of my job for three years . Now I am busy appealing this. I have to wait and see what happens when my appeal is heard on June 26th. I hope they will revise the decision but if they say no again I will have to decide what to do.

The letters and the press coverage, along with the support of the union, the UCU have made me aware how this is not just my individual issue but is one faced by many older academics and, it seems, by women especially, because we tend to have broken patterns of work. It has also intensified my awareness of the changes in the structure of higher education and made me conscious of how these are occurring internationally.

I will let you know what happens at my appeal. But meanwhile, those of you within striking distance of Manchester may be interested in a conference some colleagues have organised in an attempt to put my case in a wider context.

'The Public Intellectual and the Left in the 21st Century' 1.45-6pm Sat 7th June Cross St Chapel, Cross St Manchester M2 1NL (opposite Ann St). Speakers Helena Kennedy, PeterMcMylor, me, Lynne Segal, Hilary Wainwright.

It is sponsored by the Lipman Miliband Trust and by Sociology, Cultural Theory Institute and Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester. Admission is free.

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