Higher Education Crisis!

Rising star, Dominic Shellard, has fallen on his sword. The Vice Chancellor of De Montfort University has resigned amid a backdrop of resignations from the Board of Governors and an investigation by  the HE regulator, the Office for Students, into “issues” apparently around university governance. The response by campus trade union, UCU, has been swift with the publication of a manifesto “DMU Renewed”. The manifesto calls for elected representation on all Boards and committees, including the Board of Governors, and, for the establishment of a “General Assembly” to hold management and the governors to account.

UCU are now pursuing proposals for a joint trade union commission/workers’ inquiry into the “culture of fear” that has dominated De Montfort University (DMU) over the last few years. Staff have had enough. The simmering anger at the acute micro-management, increasing workload and diminishing administrative support that academics have been experiencing has burst forth with the announcement of the VC’s departure.

A packed joint meeting of UCU and UNISON members passed the following unanimously but for 1 abstention:-

Motion of No Confidence in the Current Management and Governing Body

“This meeting believes the management culture of DMU under Dominic Shellard’s leadership has been one of extravagance, lies, bullying and lack of accountability at the top. This meeting has no confidence in the current management and governing body as they stand, to change that culture.
We want to see a complete change of culture to enable honesty and accountability and the full implementation of UCU’s DMU Renewed manifesto.”

The demands for radical change are in stark contrast to the cautious challenges that the campus unions have had to adopt whilst the “culture of fear” predominated. Now, the rank and file, joined by new members, are demanding action and the local UCU leadership are equal to the task. The proletarianisation of the lecturers by a management committed to transforming an educational institution into a business has back-fired on them. The “prols” are fighting back!

Marxists demand:

  • Democratisation of DMU governance in line with the “DMU renewed” manifesto;
  • Education for its own sake – an end to the commercialisation of higher education;
  • All universities to be run democratically by students and staff;
  • Abolition of tuition fees;
  • Student maintenance grants at 1979 level equivalency for ALL students;
  • Education as a right not a privilege!


Chris Herriot

DMU UCU personal capacity 

Share this article!

Looking for the communists?

We've moved to over to a new website! Head here for communist news, theory, and activity, brought to you by the RCP! Feel free to exit this pop-up to read the MSF archives.

RCP logo with title black red

This will close in 0 seconds