Hundreds of scholars and lecturers from all over the world are calling on Scotland’s St Andrews University to reverse a controversial resolution to not renew the contract of the director of its Institute for Gender Studies (StAIGS).
As of Monday morning, greater than 1,500 individuals had signed an internet petition calling on the college to maintain Dr Alison Kerr, an American thinker, on board as director of StAIGS after the college determined in opposition to renewing its contract with the educator.
Dr Kerr’s supporters say she has been the architect of a lot of the institute’s programming, in addition to of its MLitt masters diploma. Once she leaves, nevertheless, they are saying the college is predicted handy her educating over to no less than two male professors, who, regardless of being consultants in their very own fields, don’t have educational backgrounds within the topic, Scottish newspaperThe Herald has reported.
In an announcement despatched to The Independent following the publication of this story, a spokesperson for St Andrews University mentioned the suggestion that Dr Kerr is being changed by males is inaccurate.
“Dr Kerr is in post and under contract until June 2021. She has however withdrawn from continuing to teach the programme. Her duties are being covered by several colleagues, women and men, from disciplines across the University,” the spokesperson mentioned.
They additional mentioned that the “current responsibility” for the Gender Studies Programme lies with Dr Morven Shearer, Director of the college’s Graduate School, a incontrovertible fact that the college had not raised in an earlier assertion.
Those who’ve signed the petition, nevertheless, have urged that they imagine Dr Kerr is being booted out of the position on the finish of her contract in an effort to keep away from laws that may require her submit to be made everlasting.
Noting Dr Kerr’s accomplishments at St Andrews University, thepetition, dubbed “StAndWithAlison”, credit the thinker for efficiently working StAIGS for the previous two and a half years and creating the college’s “largest intellectual interdisciplinary network” throughout that point.
“She has fulfilled her contract in an outstanding fashion and University policy and regulations state that having spent more than three years on her contract, it must become permanent,” the petition argues.
Yet, regardless of Dr Kerr’s contributions to the varsity, it asserts, “Alison is to be made redundant in June 2021”.
“Dr Kerr’s experience is indicative of the multiple barriers faced in academia due to sexism, racism, ageism, ableism and homophobia etc. which are the domain of StAIGS and the study of gender at St Andrews,” the petition states.
In an earlier assertion despatched to The Independent, a spokesperson for St Andrews University mentioned that “anyone who is on a fixed-term contract, however, is fully aware that their contract may end”.
“We have excellent HR policies and we apply them consistently, in the interests of fairness to everybody and in the spirit of our unswerving commitment to equality and diversity. These include the process for dealing with the end of a fixed-term contract,” the spokesperson mentioned.
Of their MLitt in Gender Studies course, the spokesperson mentioned the category “is in very good hands and is continuing, with contributions and support from excellent, highly-qualified staff.”
“We are currently recruiting students to the programme for next year,” they mentioned.
The college has additional asserted that the MLitt programme was by no means meant to be run by a single particular person, however by a cohort of educators.
It additionally mentioned an appeals course of was underway for Dr Kerr’s case.
The Independent has contacted Dr Kerr for remark.
In an announcement provided to The Herald, the educator mentioned she believed the college’s resolution to finish her contract “and put the entire gender studies programming at risk” got here as a “slap in the face” to educators who believed within the college’s promise “to promote diversity among staff and the curriculum they deliver”.
“I perceived St Andrews as a safe place for gender studies students and research on gender,” she mentioned. However, she mentioned: “In talking with various colleagues who work on gender studies around the world, I am reminded of the threat that keeps rising for research in this area, despite the fact that it is a field that clearly yields substantial income. This type of exploitation has struck a nerve with many.”
“St Andrews was where I planned the future for myself and my young family with the confidence that both the university’s employment policy and my ongoing contribution to the university’s diversity and inclusivity agenda actually meant something,” she mentioned, including: “I still hope to hear from the administration that they are reversing this decision.”
This article was up to date on the day of publication to incorporate a further assertion from St Andrews University, and on 18.2.21 to interchange the phrase ‘professor’ within the headline with ‘academic’.