Defend the University

 

DEFEND THE IRISH UNIVERSITY

A Charter for Action

The Irish university is in crisis, through massive under-funding combined with commercialisation and managerialism. We ask you to sign this set of principles to support us in defending third level education in Ireland.

1. The Irish university is a public good, not a private profit-making institution, and  corporations or business interests should not dictate teaching or research agendas.

2. The strategy of a university should reflect all dimensions of human endeavour and be built on the full and open participation of all staff and students.

3. The main aim of teaching is the dissemination of knowledge and the fostering of creativity, and is not just about increasing ‘human capital’.

4. The main aim of research is to create new knowledge. It is not just about enhancing the profit margins of corporations, many of which do not even meet their tax obligations in Ireland.

5. After teaching and research, the third mission of universities is about engaging communities and addressing social disadvantage, and not just about ‘enterprise engagement’.

6. Students are the lifeblood of the university, and the next generation of enlightened and humane citizens and are not just consumers of education or generators of ‘customer satisfaction’ indices.

7. All staff working at universities are entitled to a dignified and collegial workplace free of surveillance and control and the arbitrary degradation of working conditions.

8. Information and communications technologies are a great tool for teaching and research but should not be used to impoverish the quality of education or reduce staff-student contact time.

9. University management should be dedicated to resisting public education cutbacks and not the multiplying of senior management posts, many of which are unnecessary.

10. In the current crisis of the Irish university system, we need to stress the importance of academic freedom over a fear- driven consensus, creativity over blind compliance and collegiality over managerialism.