“As a defence of the core spirit of the university, and certainly in focusing on the raison d’être of the university, this Charter is excellent. In Ireland as globally, scholarship and learning should be the sine qua non of the university system.
Is breá mar sin an Chairt seo a chur chun cinn. Traoslaím libh as ucht sin a eagrú. Braitheann ár dtodhchaí uile ar a bhfuil ann san Chairt. Scaradh leis sin is éagcumas, agus i ndeireadh thiar, éag mar shochaí dúinn.” Professor Fionn Murtagh, De Montfort University
“You don’t have to work in a university or in academia to find this petition compelling. Universities play an important role in society and deserve our support to retain their autonomy.” Cormac O’Rafferty, Colaiste Eoin
“It is very important that those of us who love and appreciate traditional academic values articulate our views and not allow other interests to drown us out. Thank you for organising this petition.” Cathy Swift, Mary Immaculate College University of Limerick
“The capacity to speak a language; or compose an essay; or critically analyse a text; or write computer code should not be valued for the most insignificant of the functions it serves: a skill to be added to a CV. For a recent graduate entering the jobs market, it is clear that universities equate to brands and students to consumers. This campaign is important and pressing.” Orlaith Delargy
“As a student I think this campaign represents a basic and fundamental issue and it deserves the full support of the student movement. I’m not in college to satisfy the system. I’m in college so that I can learn how to improve the system. So far, this system is doing a mediocre job of ensuring that students can live happily with a sense of meaning and belonging.
Why then would we let the current, failed, system dictate how to educate the people who should be changing it. The campaign represents the fundamental and basic values that underpin how education works. This isn’t a difficult issue, it’s a simple question with a simple answer. Do we want an education system that can drive positive change? Yes. I appeal to any student worth their salt to support the campaign.” Rónán Ó Dálaigh, DCU Student
“Students in Quebec are closely watching what is happening in Ireland. All your principles are hugely inspiring and the struggle we had in Quebec is also important in other countries. Long live the real universities! We wish you the best of «luck» and we will see what we can do to show support.
Defending the university is not an easy task. The students engaged in the Quebec student strike of 2012, or «printemps érable» (literally in English it means “maple spring,” but in French it’s a play on Printemps arabe or Arab Spring) learned it the hard way, risking their sessions in order not to see tuition fees rise, not for themselves (it would have been a relatively small amount), but for the next generations of students. The students who wore the symbolic «red square» ( a symbol of support for the strike) raised awareness that the university, and scholarship, was not just threatened by those rising fees, but also by corporate model creating some awful, heart-breaking decisions.
Defend the university, because it’s the pillar of tomorrow’s society but only if it is maintained, only if it doesn’t erode due to individual search for gain and profit. Defend the university because it’s under attack. Defend the university, because you have principles you value, defend it, because it’s your, and our, task to prevent the institution falling into hands that will halt or divert its key missions. We must continue to teach, to research, to question and to transmit knowledge; not selling it. It’s our oath, it’s our profession.” Nicolas Longtin-Martel, étudiant à la maîtrise en littératures de langue française à l’Université de Montréal.
“Creeping bureaucratization is killing free enquiry and degrading the university system. Even economically, this stupid policy is not going to pay off. Students and teachers are not cogs in a machine.” Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, Trininty College Dublin
“This is a necessary and welcome initiative. The Charter calls attention to the need to protect the University so as to ensure that it continues to play its historic role as public critic. It must challenge and interrogate, safeguard academic freedom as an inalienable right, and continuously assert the fundamental principles of free speech and freedom of expression. If higher education is reduced to a market commodity, the highest bidder will call its tune. And its tune may well be one of complicit silence when called to do its public duty”. Professor Tom Collins, ex- President DKIT and NUI Maynooth
“The imposition of wholly inappropriate market-based models, language, and “performance” measures are a growing blight on the Irish Institute of Technology sector too. Would anyone with a serious concern for academic standards tie funding of third level institutions to their student (sorry I mean “customer”) retention rate, as we now do? Best wishes.” Martin Marjoram, Branch Chair IT Tallaght TU
“We strongly support this initiative and hope it will provide a platform where the issue of casualisation of labour will be addressed as one of the most serious threats presently faced by Irish universities. The deterioration of working conditions in the university affects temporary and part-time staff disproportionately and low-pay, precarious work is gradually becoming the norm. This too poses a serious threat to academic freedom and the integrity of the university.” Aline Courtois and Theresa O’Keefe, Third Level Workplace Watch Collective
“There is a real and present danger facing universities in Ireland and worldwide. Not only are we expected to continue giving a first rate education to more students than ever in our nation’s history but we are expected to do so with less staff and less resources. To add insult to injury our profession is being increasingly casualised and our working day is being micro-managed by an ever expanding bureaucracy driven, not by the love of learning and discovery, but by a crude managerialism. It is time we who value our universities cried STOP!” Mike Jennings, General Secretary, Irish Federation of University Teachers
“As Ireland’s largest Trade Union and the largest union in the university sector, SIPTU supports and endorses this charter. Support for quality public service jobs is the best and most effective way of supporting quality public services. Defending our universities is essential for those who work in them in every capacity because the provision of education is a public good and is not and should not be regarded as a saleable commodity. We call on all trade unionists to back this campaign”. Louise O’Reilly, Organiser Education Sector, Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union
“In Ireland and around much of the world universities and academics are under unprecedented pressure. Politicians and business leaders may pay lip service to higher education as a public good, but they are increasingly pushing policies that shift the costs to students and hand decision-making to the marketplace. We must redouble our efforts to defend the university for the public good.” David Robinson, Associate Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers
“Corporatization and privatization of the university is a global phenomenon and in New York we are resisting insertion of market-logic at City University of New York, the largest urban university in the USA. Several months ago, 92 percent of union members of the Professional Staff Congress voted to oppose the university’s effort to centralize the system and undermine faculty governance. We are with you in Ireland on this!”. Professor Immanuel Ness, City University of New York
“This campaign deserves our support because it links the value of the labor of academics in higher education to the value of education as a public good. For those of us who oppose putting the educators’ brains under the administrators and university design specialists’ caps, who oppose the corporatization of the university, these principles are a good starting point for putting our brains back in our own heads. The idea that those on the front lines of the university workplace should guide the public purpose of this workplace is part of these demands.” Rosemary Feurer, Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University
“The attempt to silence and destroy public education in the name of ‘austerity’ betrays both current generations and the future of Ireland. It is disgraceful that, having spent countless billions to rescue the banks that brought disaster to this country, resources allegedly can no longer be found to support education and other public services. We support you!”. Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho, University of London
“This initiative is vital to the future of our Universities and more importantly to the future of our country. Universities are evolving rapidly as business support enterprises in response to government policies driven by business interests. Defend the Irish University is a very important and timely initiative and if academics can be given a proper voice and long term sustainable lobby system, we can changes things”. Professor Tommie Mc Carthy, University College Cork
“The Irish university system is being sabotaged by a government which sees education only as a corporate resource, and by the passivity of too many university leaders and academics who have offered no coherent opposition to this. Beyond a certain limit there will be no university left to save. The time to act is now”. Professor Joseph Cleary, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
“This is a most important initiative highlighting yet again the ways in which the institution of the university is being transformed by market forces under our eyes. Yet, those who are carrying out these changes seem so sure of the validity of their actions that they stand above the critiques instead of addressing them and engaging in a badly needed debate. What foolhardy myopia!”. Professor Peadar Kirby, University of Limerick
“I strongly support the sentiments set out in the petition. Having spent years working in Universities in the UK and Ireland, I am greatly sddened by the move towards managerialism and a “business model” espoused by a relatively small number. Students will be the losers. A radical re-think is urgently required.” Professor P. J. Drudy, Trinity College Dublin
“What is happening in universities is that new managerial modes of governance are being instituted in the name of ‘efficiency’ as if these were neutral educationally and politically which they are not. They assume that universities are best run through the deployment of a market logic and displace social and moral values such as trust, integrity, care and solidarity. These are now subordinated to regulation, control and competition. While few would question the value of efficiency, managerialism does not just prioritize efficiency, it suppresses the moral purpose of the university. The net effect is that higher education is now increasingly defined as a commodity to be delivered on the market to customers who can afford to buy it. It is no longer defined as a capacity-building public good”. Professor Kathleen Lynch, University College Dublin
“I wholeheartedly support this initiative to protect the public university and to speak up for academic freedom, creativity and the legitimate contributions that higher education should be expected to make in a healthy and credible democracy. We need to speak out collectively, to resist the thoughtless and damaging narratives, practices and policies that are eroding our public intellectual and cultural institutions. It is not surprising that in times of ‘crisis’, higher education is targeted – not just for its potential instrumentality, but also out of the impulse to domesticate and repress the very possibility of critique. It is really important that we can come together and collectively affirm the legitimate public, social, cultural and educational values and purposes of higher education.” Dr Su-Ming Khoo, National University of Ireland, Galway
“We are at a point in the Irish universities where we either accept the steady decline of funding and morale or stand up for an alternative vision or visions of what a university can be. It is time we have a proper debate on what the purpose of a university is before current moves to dumb it down succeed. Another university is possible!”. Professor Ronnie Munck, Dublin City University