Northumbria UCU Newsletter – September 2021: Covid Update

In his introduction to the university’s Health and Safety policy, your Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Wathey, states: “Nothing that we do is so important that it cannot be done safely.” Northumbria UCU agree. Northumbria UCU also recognise that everyone wants to get back to some kind of ‘normal’ as soon as possible. The prospect of teaching face-to-face, and seeing students and colleagues in person again, is exciting. But things are nowhere near ‘normal’ yet, and it is disingenuous and dangerous to pretend otherwise. Such a position risks threatening staff, students, and the community. This means the prospect of face-to-face teaching is, for some, deeply concerning, as it was last year. Just as concerning is the way such concerns have been ignored, again. Indeed, colleagues with concerns have already been told ‘Do F2F or resign’, by managers who admit they do not know the policies in place.

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Covid-19 at Northumbria

You will find the letter UCU Northumbria has sent to the Vice-Chancellor here.

Our Branch cahir, Adam, has also be speaking about the situation at Northumbria. You can find his analysis here

Obituary: Professor Phil O’Keefe, born December 1948; died 21 September 2020.

Phil joined Newcastle polytechnic in 1984 and soon became the Department of Geography’s first ever titled professor in Economic Development and Environmental Management. Born in North Shields in 1948, with family roots back to the Irish miners who came to Tyneside. Phil was schooled at Ushaw College, an austere Catholic seminary, worked as a labourer on the Kielder Dam, and studied at Durham. Phil’s family and experiences gave him vivid understanding of the north-east’s sense of solidarity, community and life’s pleasures. He returned to his beloved North East to start his family after establishing his reputation as a leading young radical geographer at Clarke University in the US between 1976 and 1980, a conscious choice inspired by the Polytechnic’s ethos. Whilst in the US, Phil co-edited the radical geography journal Antipode for two years and began interacting with other US based radical geographers, such as Dick Peet and Neil Smith.

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UCU statement on face-to-face teaching

You can find UCU statement on face-to-face teaching here: statement.

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