Tag Archives: nui galway

More lack of transparency at NUI Galway revealed in big way

There is yet more lack of transparency at NUI Galway.

The University has more than €57 million in a private fund-raising foundation but has resisted declaring the funds despite government pressure, according to a blockbuster story in Tuesday’s Irish Times.

The Campaign has seen such lack of transparency before when it comes to promotions at the University. Some might call it hypocrisy.

The University steadfastly claims that it is ‘comprehensively addressing’ the gender inequality issue, but where is the real change to back up its claim?

If the University is truly addressing gender discrimination, then why have virtually all of the recent appointments for senior posts gone to men? As has been noted before on this website, of the five College Deans — all of whom are male — four have been replaced in the last three years – by four more men!

I think we can all agree that recruitment and appointments should – and must – be transparent at NUI Galway if the University is serious about addressing gender inequality. That’s why it’s so shocking that in NUI Galway’s recent job advertisement for a leader to succeed President Jim Browne, whose term ends next year, there is but a cursory mention of gender equality.

Such a poor reference is particularly glaring because a 2016 Higher Education Authority (HEA) report recommended that new university presidents have leadership skills in advancing gender equality and that this be included in recruitment requirements. (A link for the report is at: http://www.hea.ie/sites/default/files/hea_review_of_gender_equality_in_irish_higher_education.pdf).

Tuesday’s story in The Irish Times reported that NUI Galway and other colleges have now pledged to be more transparent regarding funds raised by private foundations, but went on to say that an independent review is ongoing at the University of Limerick.

More significantly, that review was resisted by UL until a new president – Prof Des Fitzgerald – took over in recent weeks.

Will the new president at NUI Galway be as forthcoming? And what about gender equality? The Campaign is concerned that if NUI Galway’s advertisement for a new president gives short shrift to gender equality, then the new president will not have the leadership skills to advance such equality – skills that were specifically recommended in last year’s HEA report on gender equality in Irish higher-education institutions.

And what about the origins of that HEA report? Yes, the Campaign has discovered even more questions about transparency.

NUI Galway’s draft of its application for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award at https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/nuigalwayie/content/files/aboutus/DRAFT-Athena-SWAN-Application-March-2017.pdf implies that Dr Browne was personally responsible for the commissioning of the report. The draft application states that:

‘In tandem with the establishment of the Gender Equality Task Force in NUI Galway, the President wrote to the then Chief Executive of the Irish Higher Education Authority and asked that the HEA set up a review of Gender Equality across the Irish Higher Education System. The HEA moved as requested and the HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions, under the chair of Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Former EU Commissioner was established and reported in June 2016.’

If that’s the case, then why are the report’s very specific recommendations so ignored in the presidential recruitment brochure? (downloadable at https://candidates.perrettlaver.com/vacancies/255/president/

The Campaign could find only one mention of ‘gender’ – on Page 21 of the 25-page brochure. ‘Promote gender balance and equality of opportunity among students and employees of the University’ is one of the points listed under ‘Key Responsibilities’. How many points in all are listed? 10. Where does gender equality rank? 8th. And that one mention comes more than four-fifths of the way through the brochure.

Moreover, the Foreword to the 2016 report on gender equality written by the HEA’s chief executive indicates that it was commissioned by the HEA:

‘Reflecting the requirement, enshrined in higher education legislation, for institutions to promote gender-balance among students and staff, and for the Higher Education Authority to promote the attainment of equality of opportunity, we commissioned this review.’ 

There is no mention of NUI Galway requesting the review.

2016 HEA report

The Expert Group’s “HEA National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions”, issued last June, makes a number of recommendations for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

On Page 47 of the report, Point 1.1 states the objective as: “To foster gender balance in the leadership of HEIs” (our emphasis) and recommends that the final pool of candidates for new university president comprise an equal number of women and men.

“The achievement of gender equality needs to be led from the top,” the report continues, “with the ultimate responsibility for its achievement sitting with the HEI president, or equivalent.

“Therefore, it is the Expert Group’s expectation that all candidates for presidential appointments will have demonstrable experience of leadership in advancing gender equality, and that this will be included in the recruitment criteria and the framework for evaluating the performance of candidates.”

The report recommendations don’t stop there: Point 1.2 states that the objective is “to ensure HEI leaders foster a culture of gender equality in their HEI” and, to do this, it recommends a requirement of appointment will be demonstrable experience of leadership in advancing gender equality.

The actual job description for a new president, as issued by NUI Galway, comes up way short of those recommendations.

The Irish Times story on the foundation funds can be read in full by clicking on this link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/universities-resisted-declaring-tens-of-millions-in-assets-1.3084158#.WRqUjhwzZng

 

NUI Galway applies for gender equality award – again. Campaign supporters have until May 17th to voice opinions

The Campaign has learned that NUI Galway has resubmitted its application for an Athena SWAN Bronze award. The university’s application for the gender equality award was rejected in 2015, in the first round open to Irish institutions.

Such an award recognises that the “institution has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.” The Higher Education Authority last year stipulated that Irish universities should obtain at least a Bronze award if they are to continue receiving certain funds.

The Campaign feels strongly that NUI Galway does not deserve the award because it has failed to recognise key improvements it needs to make to eliminate discrimination against women. To date, everything NUI Galway has implemented has been to improve the University’s image without addressing the real problem of the culture of exclusion.

An Athena SWAN Bronze award is given to an institution that “recognises a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff: that includes [inter alia] [….] identifying both challenges and opportunities.” The key ‘challenges’ not addressed are outlined below.

Micheline will be sending a letter of objection regarding NUI Galway’s application to the UK-based Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which manages the Athena SWAN awards. We urge any supporters who feel as we do, particularly if they are a member of staff, student or ex-student of NUI Galway, to also send a letter of objection.

Please send your objections to athenaswan@ecu.ac.uk no later than May 17th. They should be no more than 1,000 words.

The objections must be based on aspects of gender equality that the University is failing to address. Personal examples that you may know of are particularly useful. We would suggest the following points. If you have the time, it would be better to put these points in your own words rather than cut and paste them:

1) — The extreme gender imbalance that occurred in the round of promotions to Senior Lecturer in 2008/09 – 16 men (50% of candidates) and only one woman (6.7% of candidates) – has never been addressed by the University even though it has accepted in its submission that there was a problem. Six women were deemed suitable for promotion in that round, but not ranked high enough to be promoted. Subsequently, Micheline Sheehy Skeffington won a case in November 2014 at the Equality Tribunal on the grounds of gender discrimination and was promoted. Her Tribunal ruling made it abundantly clear that the issues were wider than just her case. In the Tribunal Conclusions (Section 4), the ruling mentions seven men against whom she compared more favourably, but who received higher scores than she did. In addition, three of the other five women are specifically mentioned as having been subject to indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender.

a. The University has never attempted to address this obvious case of gender discrimination and has never conducted an internal investigation of that promotion round. The five women also deemed suitable took court cases only after exhausting all other avenues over six months of trying to get the University to deal with the issue. Therefore, the court cases cannot be used as an excuse by NUI Galway for not addressing this issue. Provision for an independent investigation is made in the form of a Visitor under the Universities Act. Such an investigation should be part of the NUIG self-assessment for addressing gender imbalance in the institution.

2) — NUI Galway policy is now to have at least 40% women in key decision-making positions (see Section 4.4. Organisation & Culture of NUI Galway application).

a.  But in the past two 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.)

b.  The Academic Council, the University’s top academic decision-making body, is still more than 80 percent male. Of the 150 Council members, 121 are men, which amounts to 80.7%, and 29 are women, which amounts to 19.3%.

c.  More than 95% of new directors of Institutes and research programmes at the University are men.

d.  Therefore, this policy has not resulted in any substantial change in the representation of women in many of the important decision-making roles.

3) — 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 Irish universities with the highest percentage of female senior staff are Limerick (33%) and Trinity (31%). The rest are: UCD (30%); Maynooth (29%); DCU (27%) and Cork (26%). Highlighting the gender bias further at NUI Galway, only 12% of its Professors are women while 52% of its Junior Lecturers are women.

a.  There has been no substantive change in the percentage of females at the Professor level over the last three years and the number of female Senior Lecturers has fallen since 2015 (see Table 3.2.1 of NUI Galway application).

4) — 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 (2013/14, see Table 4.3.1 of NUI Galway application). This is not a sufficient policy shift to bring about change and does not reflect the more than 50% female lecturers at the level below that.

HELPFUL LINKS

Here is the link for NUI Galway’s draft submission: https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/nuigalwayie/content/files/aboutus/DRAFT-Athena-SWAN-Application-March-2017.pdf

The website also includes a copy of an undated “Report on the Athena SWAN Culture Survey.” https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/nuigalwayie/content/files/aboutus/Athena-SWAN-Culture-Survey-report.pdf

The Campaign would like to point out another discrepancy here. The introduction of the report refers to the Culture Survey conducted by the Self-Assessment Team in March 2015. Why wasn’t a Culture Survey conducted in 2017?

The Guidelines for Athena SWAN awards are here: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Athena-SWAN-Charter-Post-May-2015-guide-to-processes.pdf. NB submissions must not be anonymous and will be sent to NUI Galway for a response, if considered valid.

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington’s Equality Tribunal Ruling can be read here: http://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/Cases/2014/November/DEC-E2014-078.html

 

NUI Galway will negotiate with women lecturers: Thursday’s High Court pre-trial hearing and demonstration cancelled

 

The Campaign has just learnt that the four female lecturers and NUI Galway have agreed to mediation.

As a result of the agreement, the pre-trial hearing regarding the gender inequality case that was scheduled to be held on Thursday May 4th in the High Court in Dublin has been adjourned. So the student demonstration outside the High Court that was planned for Thursday has also been cancelled. However, because Micheline is concerned that some people may not receive or hear this news, she intends to still be there outside the High Court in Dublin at 11.30 am on Thursday to explain and thank anyone who turns up.

The four women who are lecturers at NUI Galway had sued the university last year, saying they were not promoted to senior lecturer in the 2008/09 promotion round because of their gender and, with this pre-trial hearing, the university had been trying to have the case dismissed.

The Campaign would like to thank everyone who contributed their time, hard work and money to the women’s fight. It is because of YOUR commitment that this has become such a high-profile case. We believe this is why the university and the women are now undertaking mediation. It is because of YOUR support that the women’s voices are being heard. We thank you immensely for everything.

The Campaign will stand aside while the women seek what they require through mediation and we are wishing them well. If they are satisfied by the outcome, we will celebrate but not be triumphalist about it. But if they are not satisfied with the outcome, the Campaign will continue until they get justice. So please watch this website for future developments.

Thank you again to all our supporters!

The truth behind the window dressing at NUI Galway

StatsPoster1

The Gender Equality Campaign has produced posters, such as the one above, to highlight the lack of significant change at NUI Galway.

Reality speaks louder than public relations drivel, no matter how you spin it.

To wit, NUI Galway says it’s doing all it can to address gender inequality at the university.  After all, the university has repeatedly pointed out, it set up a Task Force for Gender Equality, has adopted a mandatory female quota of at least 40% for the next promotion round to Senior Lecturer, and hired a Vice President of Diversity and Equality.

From our vantage point, these changes are merely window dressing.

The truth behind the changes?

  • The task force was not independent and its scope was far too narrow, according to both the trade union SIPTU and Micheline Sheehy Skeffington.
  • The report issued by the task force suggested a cascade system of promotion, but this is being watered down. Although 52% of Junior Lecturers are women, only 40% of those promoted to Senior Lecturer are required to be women, amounting to a 1% increase over the number of women promoted in the last round.

As Micheline wrote in a Letter to the Editor last month in the City Tribune, ‘The task force in itself was a face-saving exercise, as it had no brief to address past issues. … Specifically, it did not address the cases of the five other women who, like me, were deemed eligible, but who were not promoted. I know, from what I saw during my case, that they deserve promotion as much as I did.’

  • The Vice President of Diversity and Equality earns more than €100,000 a year – more than it would cost to promote the five women.
  • Further, the City Tribune revealed recently that concern was raised at a Governing Body meeting last November regarding how much her office was spending. Approximately €500,000 was mentioned as part of the cost of the office – including continuation of unconscious bias training costs.

This is the training that helps to stop staff from giving advantage to men over women. The meeting minutes, obtained by the Tribune through Freedom of Information, said that: ‘One member was extremely surprised at the cost of the unconscious bias training and would like to be convinced in respect of the impact of such training.’ An additional €120,000 was added for enhanced maternity coverage and €90,000 for research for staff returning from academic and carers’ leave, bringing gender equality-related expenses to €700,000. The amount of money involved is amazing, particularly when you compare it to how much less it would cost to promote the five women.

  • Inspired by Micheline’s letter to the Tribune, the campaign has produced these posters (above and below) to highlight the window dressing by management.

As Micheline further explained in her Letter to the Editor, the university’s continued failure to address gender inequality – particularly regarding the five women who have taken the university to court – ‘is the clearest indication of their real attitude to women.’

PROMOTE THE FIVE! And join us on Thursday, May 4th, as we demonstrate outside the High Court in Dublin in support of the five women.

*To read the March 27th City Tribune article (‘Alarm at NUIG’s €700k bill to tackle “unconscious” gender bias’ by Dara Bradley), click on the following link: http://connachttribune.ie/alarm-nuigs-e700k-bill-take-unconscious-gender-bias/

*To read Micheline’s Letter to the Editor, see the post on this page: https://michelinesthreeconditions.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/nui-galway-management-hypocrisy/

NUI Galway management = Hypocrisy

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.’

Really?

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.

Mich letter

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. The Academic Council, the top academic decision-making body, is still at least 80 percent male.
  3. More than 95% of new directors of Institutes and research programmes at the university are men.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

 

Video is ‘Brewing Up a Storm’ for NUIG 5 benefit concert

Here’s our great new video made for us by Eddie Mullarkey. You can help the campaign by sharing it or sharing our Facebook events page where it also appears at https://www.facebook.com/events/668169246701296/?active_tab=discussion.

The benefit concert will feature The Stunning along with My Fellow Sponges. The MC for the event will be comedian Tommy Tiernan, so expect the unexpected! You can buy tickets at the Town Hall Theatre box office or online here at:  https://tht.ie/2655/benefit-concert

The concert will be held Wednesday, March 29th, at The Black Box in Galway. The event will raise funds to support court cases filed by the 5 women lecturers at NUI Galway who are fighting for their right to be promoted.

In the 2.34-minute video, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington eloquently states the history of the injustices committed against the five women, who have taken NUI Galway to court over the university’s refusal to promote them to senior lecturer in 2009. In addition, two NUI Galway students passionately voice their support for the women lecturers and their right to be promoted. Micheline states that the concert is being held to help with the women’s court expenses as well as to provide moral support for what they are going through in their battle for equal rights.

See for yourself by clicking on the above video.
CHECK OUT FURTHER UPDATES ON THE BENEFIT GIG ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE  -PLEASE LIKE, ADD A COMMENT AND SHARE:  https://www.facebook.com/events/668169246701296/
poster

Comedian Tommy Tiernan will emcee a benefit concert for the five women lecturers who have been forced to take court cases against NUI Galway to fight for their rights.

The Secret Cartoonist exhibition is back!

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secret-garden1

The Secret Cartoonist exhibition will be on display at the Secret Garden Cafe in Galway through Feb. 5th. Drawings and T-shirts as well as badges, mugs and post cards will be available for sale to support the Gender Equality Campaign.

The exhibition of cartoons that caused so much upset to NUI Galway management last April is back on view at the Secret Garden Café, 4 William St West, Galway.

“I’m delighted it’s back,” said Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, who launched the exhibition in front of a blank wall in NUI Galway’s Arts Millennium building last April. “It’s about raising awareness amongst students, especially about the four women’s High Court cases.”

Micheline said the next few months are critical for the Gender Equality campaign because the pre-trial hearing will be held Thursday, May 4th.

“If the University succeeds in having the women’s cases thrown out on a legal technicality, it will be an enormous injustice,” she said. “So the campaign is doing all it can to raise awareness so that lots of students and supporters come on the buses the Students Union are providing to demonstrate outside the High Court.”

The exhibition, which runs until February 5th, comprises a selection of framed and signed copies of the ‘University President –a fictional character’ cartoons as seen on Facebook. The original drawings for the ‘Mr Browne’s Boys’ T-shirts, which poke fun at University management, are also on view, some still for sale.

Last April, the exhibition was taken down in the middle of the night by University security even though the NUI Galway Students’ Union had properly booked the space. The clandestine removal brought more attention to the exhibition, which was subsequently allowed to go back up.

“But it’s had repercussions this year,” Micheline said. “University management have changed the rules about exhibitions so we won’t be able to hang it again there. In fact, the student societies who’re running a table in the University concourse every Tuesday and taking bookings for the High Court buses were told they couldn’t display the T-shirts that lampoon President Jim Browne and other senior management!”

The Secret Garden Café is frequented by many NUI Galway students as well as staff and will take orders for sales at the counter. Mugs, badges and post cards are also for sale at the café. To see the exhibition’s Facebook page, click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1042373805867551/