October 10, 2009

Providing Leadership for Higher Education in the 21st Century

This site tells a story through documentary evidence, images, music and video. It paints a picture for the reader/viewer to judge for him/herself, rather than putting forth a particular point of view about relevant events, by asking difficult and important questions to consider about what it means to work and study at Kingston University.

A brief summary of background facts follows:

Dr Howard Fredrics began his employment as Senior Lecturer and Route Leader of Creative Music Technologies in September 2002. He moved with his wife, Lori from the United States, leaving a full-time permanent position to relocate his life to the UK.

In early 2003, he was approached by a colleague, Mike Searby, to sign a letter of grievance against his manager. Dr Fredrics decided that he did not want to become involved in such matters, as he was new in in post, still on probation, and simply did not wish to join in a mob action to address concerns about his manager. Rather, it was Dr Fredrics view that such matters are best handled on an individual basis through direct discussion with management to resolve individual concerns as they arise.

But Mr Searby did not take no for an answer. He continued to pressurize Dr Fredrics and even approached Dr Fredrics' wife, Lori to try to prevail upon her to convince Dr Fredrics to sign the letter of grievance. He also told Dr Fredrics that ALL other staff had signed the letter (a false statement) and that it would not be in his (Dr Fredrics) "best interests" to not sign the letter -- a clear threat, which Dr Fredrics understood as such. Shortly thereafter, Mr Searby and another colleague, Dr Frank Millward approached Mrs Fredrics to try to pressurize her further into getting Dr Fredrics to sign the grievance. They told Mrs Fredrics that Dr Fredrics was already becoming "marginalized" and that he would "find himself being sent back to the US" if he ended up on the "wrong side" of the battle against his manager.

What follows below are a series of links to pages containing documents, which show what happened to Dr Fredrics and his wife, Lori after Dr Fredrics made it clear that he would not engage in mobbing of his manager. Indeed, all Dr Fredrics wanted to do was to do his job, to concentrate on his teaching and research, to improve the quality of Kingston, to be helpful to his colleagues, and to live a normal and happy life. Alas, this was not to be...

To whet the reader's appetite to read/listen on, the following recording of a conversation amongst UCU union rep., Chris Wills, Personnel Director, Liz Lanchbery and Dr Fredrics documents Mr Wills request to Mrs Lanchbery that the University's appointed "independent" investigator look into allegations that Dr Fredrics was threatened by his colleagues with the loss of his job if he did not sign onto the letter of grievance against his manager. You'll note that Mrs Lanchbery agrees to formally instruct the investigator to perform such an investigation upon receipt of a written request from Mr Wills, who did precisely that. (n.b. the recording contains brief silences where the name of Dr Fredrics' manager is mentioned, in order to respect the privacy of that individual).

Mrs Lanchbery did NOT, however, include such instructions to the University's investigator, and he did NOT, therefore, investigate whether or not Dr Fredrics was threatened or otherwise pressurized by his colleagues, and whether or not this may have ultimately led to the targeting for elimination of Dr Fredrics by some of his colleagues through a collective grievance, one that was issued in much the same manner as had been done in order to eliminate Dr Fredrics' manager.

Does it seem to you that Dr Fredrics may have been bullied by his colleagues and later, by Mrs Lanchberry?

Do you think that the failure to conduct a FULL investigation, not only of allegations against Dr Fredrics, but also of charges of bullying by Dr Fredrics' colleagues means that the investigation was, from the outset, fatally flawed?

From: http://www.sirpeterscott.com

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