Hypocrisy seems to be de riguer at NUI Galway.
On Wednesday, NUI Galway President Jim Browne revealed at his biannual speech the university’s hypocritical stance regarding the treatment of female staff, particularly the women who have sued the university in the High Court for gender discrimination, and then on Friday, Micheline further exposed the university’s hypocritical attitude towards the women in a Letter to the Editor in the Galway City Tribune.
Dr Browne gave his biannual speech to all NUI Galway staff last Wednesday and three women, including Micheline, stood up to raise the issue of the High Court gender discrimination case against the university and the dire treatment of women generally by NUI Galway positions. His response was interesting, to say the least.
The women highlighted that the case has been fought for 2 years, 4 months. They emphasised the ‘human cost’ as well as the ‘stress and strain’ caused by the case, saying it is ‘financially draining’ and an ‘emotionally and mentally crushing process.’
We are ‘putting our careers, wellbeing and finances on the line to fight for what is right,’ one of the women said, adding that the sacrifice is ‘not only for ourselves but, more importantly, for others.’
In the past, Dr Browne has responded to such statements with obvious annoyance, even outright anger.
This time, he claimed heartfelt concern.
‘I regret to the core what the five women are going through,’ he told them and added that he wished he could help them but he was unable to do anything about it, explaining that ‘the issue is very complicated.’
He has said in the past that ‘I can’t and won’t promote them’ and that it is for the women to prove they deserve promotion in court. That’s why the women filed the court case in the first place. Yet, instead of allowing the case to continue and let the facts come out, the university is dragging out the process – using taxpayers’ money while the women have to fund raise to pay their costs.
At the request of the university, a pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, May 4th in the High Court. Such a hearing will look only at the case’s legal basis – not the facts. In short, the hearing is merely an attempt to have the women’s court case thrown out so that the facts won’t be revealed to the public and the women won’t be able to prove that they were discriminated against.
According to The Irish Times, the preliminary issues centre on whether the lecturers’ claims can be dealt with by the High Court or must they be first determined by the Workplace Relations Commission and/or Circuit Court. Two years and four months later, this is where the case stands?
But wait, the hypocrisy at NUIG continues.
In a Letter to the Editor (reprinted in full above) in the most recent edition of the Galway City Tribune, Micheline exposed the hyprocrisy of NUI Galway management regarding the treatment of women at the university.
Micheline referred to an article in the March 17th edition in which NUI Galway rejected Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh’s claim that the university has done little for the female staff in the last two years.
According to the article (“We’re taking action,” Page 15), the university said it is ‘comprehensively addressing the issue at all levels.’
However, Micheline refuted this statement, saying, ‘Yet I see no evidence that key “college decision-making bodies” come anywhere near having the 40% of female representation they claim.’
Micheline pointed out that:
- In the past three years, four of the five male College Deans have been replaced – by four more men. (The College Deans are the Deans with the real power at the university.)
- The Academic Council, the top academic decision-making body, is still at least 80 percent male.
- More than 95% of new directors of Institutes and research programmes at the university are men.
- July 2016 HEA figures show that NUI Galway ranks a clear last of all third-level institutions with 21% female senior staff (Senior Lecturers and Professors).
- The mandatory 40% female quota being adopted for the next promotion round is only 1% higher than the percentage of women promoted in the last round.
‘The continued failure of NUI Galway to address this injustice is the clearest indication of their real attitude to women,’ she wrote.
She said, in fact, the university is doing all it can to prevent the five women from getting justice. That’s why the benefit concert is being held on Wednesday, March 29th at the Black Box. It is not just about raising money but also awareness of what is happening. And that’s why the Students’ Union is providing buses to Dublin on May 4th so that students can protest outside the High Court. The demonstration is being held precisely to highlight the hypocrisy of what NUI Galway are attempting to do. Please come and join us and the students! 12 noon at the High Court, May 4th! We will be arranging our own bus for supporters.