Despite NUI Galway’s management claiming to have the unqualified support of the Minister for Education Jan O’ Sullivan in relation to its gender equality task force in a recent email sent out to all staff, the Minister yesterday spoke out about the lack of proper consultation with staff members. Speaking to reporters at an Impact education division conference in Galway, the Minister said that the task force “needs to be effective, and to be effective there needs to be proper consultation”
This comes after news emerged that two internal reports at NUI Galway warned that the university was ‘out of step’ on gender equality. The ‘feedback reports’ noted that several women who had been unsuccessful in applying for higher posts were “truly altruistic and dedicated to the areas of university business that are not show-stopping headlines, but essential bricks and mortar”.
“There is something unenlightened about a university process that does not capture more of these essential abilities,” the report said.
These reports echo many of the claims made by Dr. Sheehy Skeffington and other female academics about the university management’s lack of respect for the values, hard work and dedication that they show to their jobs.
What is most striking about the story is that the reports were completed two months before the university became embroiled in its legal dispute with Dr. Sheehy Skeffington and during their ongoing legal dispute with Mary Dempsey.
These further damaging revelations follow months of protests during which the university has refused to acknowledge calls for transparency from students, staff, alumni and unions. Now it seems that they are also not willing to take on board the opinion of the Minister for Education or even the advice of their own internal reports.
Just who does have the power to influence what happens at NUI Galway?
Who decides the membership of a task force on gender equality?
Who decides who gets promoted?
When the answers to these questions emerge, we will be a step closer to understanding how the university management got itself into such a hole in the first place and how they still haven’t learned to stop digging.