Student Statement on the sackings of Damien and Jennifer Markey at University of Bolton
On Friday 20th March 2015, Damien Markey, Senior Lecturer at University of Bolton and UCU Branch secretary, was unfairly dismissed for allegedly making malicious statements about colleagues, leaking information to the press aimed at damaging the University, and bringing the University into disrepute. He was given 30 minutes to prepare for the disciplinary meeting, in which he was dismissed. His wife, Jennifer Markey, a Unison member and fellow colleague at University of Bolton, was then dismissed in a disciplinary meeting the following Monday, for alleged involvement.
We as a student body feel that this unfair and unjustified sacking of two of the University’s staff members is a vindictive act on union members, and is in breach of not only the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the ACAS Code of Practice, but also the University's own disciplinary procedures.
With the students having no official statement from the University about the situation and the effect on their learning, this has led to us to resorting to news articles and various social media outlets for information. Students only found out about the sackings a week after the incident, after finding an article on the UCU website. During a meeting with the Deputy Vice Chancellor, we asked why we weren't notified about our senior lecturer being fired, and the question was avoided by the University's Representative. This alone is no way to treat students paying so much for their education and a lack of respect seemed to be apparent throughout this meeting. Trust has continued to be broken due to the University back tracking on offers of deadline extensions for some assignments and late opening hours to make up for lost time.
We are concerned for our teaching staff, many of which are over worked due to having to pick up Damien’s assignments. This is leading to a state of panic, and concern over our education. This course is driven by Damien’s involvement, and has only prospered due to his hard work and dedication, to both the course and the University. It is a great shame to lose a lecturer that has worked so hard over the past 10 years to build up the course into one of the leading S/VFX courses in the United Kingdom.
We would also like to reiterate the impact that Damien’s dismissal has had on our university experience. Damien is a caring and helpful lecturer, who is many students first point of call with personal issues. We trust him, and that trust is continuing during this matter.
We are disgusted that the university has allowed this to happen. We as a student body are backing the UCU and Unison campaign to immediately reinstate Damien and Jennifer, as well as being involved with lobbying and publicising the situation on social media.
We will not tolerate this level of bullying from the University of Bolton, and won't allow our staff members to continue to be threatened for standing up for what they believe in. Any further contact can be made by email. firstname.lastname@example.org