An open letter to Lancaster University's interim vice-chancellor to express solidarity with Dr Julie Hearn following her victimisation by University management has attracted over 350 signatories from across the UK. The signatories include students, alumni, academics, and trade unionists. There were also signatures from supporters internationally, from Poland to the United States.
The letter was organised by Lancaster students in response to the news that the University is facing an Employment Tribunal for targeting Dr Hearn because of her trade union activism. Dr Hearn is branch president of Lancaster UCU, which will be commencing a 14-day strike later this month.
The letter calls Lancaster's interim vice-chancellor Professor Steve Bradley to 'recognise the legitimate reasons for continuing strike action, and seek to work collaboratively with UCU, Unite, and Unison on all their ongoing disputes.'
Notably, dozens of Lancaster University academics have signed the letter, condemning the 'endemic' culture of bullying at the University, a clear indication that Dr Hearn's case is not isolated. One of her UCU comrades, LEC lecturer Dr Jacob Phelps, recently took to Twitter to describe his own experience of trade union victimisation:
This is a pattern for Lancaster Uni HR. I have been here for 4 years, and this is - at least - the 3rd active victimisation effort against a Union Leader. And HR actively supports this bad behaviour. Last year, when I confidentially met HR to explore making formal complaint against a manager (who had called security guards on me for leafletting), instead of supporting me, they secretly informed the bully and then invited me to mediated discussion. We must stand with Julie.
One of the student organisers of the open letter, Labour city councillor Jack O'Dwyer-Henry, announced his intention to deliver the letter to Professor Bradley next week. Spineless shall endeavor to be there to cover the latest event in the ever-escalating wave of anti-establishment student activism at Lancaster.
Amazing to see that over 350 comrades from across the country have signed this open letter already! Looking forward to delivering it to the union-busting vice-chancellor next week... ✊ https://t.co/3mAgAPnou4— Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (@JackODwyerHenry) February 9, 2020
The open letter can be signed here.