Tag Archives: NUIG

We post the NUI Galway Athena SWAN application

The campaign has been sent NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN application. This is the application that was submitted by the closing date of November 30th but which has failed to appear, or even be acknowledged, on NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN web page. This is the application they haven’t sent to Micheline and others who have asked for a copy, deliberately hindering any objections. Their action is in contrast to Maynooth University’s open announcement and application publication on Dec 1st.

Because NUI Galway won’t post their application on their web page, we have posted it below. Please note the line on Page 14: drafts of the application and action plan were circulated to all staff’. We know for a fact that that statement is not true.

If you have not submitted an objection yet, then please do. Just a simple line saying ‘NUI Galway should address the gender discrimination resulting from the ’08/’09 round of promotions to Senior Lecturer before they are given the award’ is enough. You can cite Micheline’s Open Letter for the details (which Athena SWAN have). Send it to athenaswan@ecu.ac.uk.

If you want to add other objections, like the untruth we pointed out above and/or the withholding of the application, then please do. Or perhaps you could cite the fact that no woman has been appointed to posts with any power: the new President is a man, the recently appointed College Deans have all been men, the recently appointed heads of research institutes, e.g., the Ryan Institute, have all been men.

Athena SWAN have now written to a supporter that objections need not be in by the end of this week, but by their return after the New Year.

We can’t tell you who sent us the application, but we can say we are very grateful.

Athena Swan Bronze Institution Application_NUIG_Nov17 submitted 30th Nov 2017 for print version Dec 1st 2017

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NUI Galway have applied to Athena SWAN but are not making application available!

A campaign member who wrote to the Athena SWAN board has been told that NUI Galway has applied for a gender equality award (closing date November 30th) but there is no requirement for NUI Galway to make its application available! They were also told they had only until the end of this week to submit an objection — to an application they have no access to!

Campaign members, including Micheline, who have written to Prof Anne Scott, the Chair of NUI Galway’s Athena SWAN committee, asking for copies of the application have received no reply.

We are now convinced this is a deliberate attempt to prevent any objections. Please help us ensure that NUI Galway does not get away with it! Here is where you can send an objection: athenaswan@ecu.ac.uk

Let them know you object to NUI Galway’s application as they have not dealt with the ongoing gender discrimination from the 2008/2009 round of promotions to Senior Lecturer. You can cite Micheline’s open letter (sent to the Athena SWAN board at the time).

If anyone can send us NUI Galway’s application, we will post it online here!


 

Is NUI Galway deliberately hiding its re-application to Athena SWAN to prevent objections?

On the heels of the successful #SolidariTEA held last week by NUI Galway staff and students in support of the four female lecturers who have taken their battle for promotion to the High Court, we thought an update on the latest round of Athena SWAN applications was warranted.
The word around the university is that NUI Galway submitted a third application for the award by the Nov. 30th deadline. If so, this means NUI Galway took the action despite Micheline’s Open Letter last month and its insistence that the university address the outstanding gender discrimination from the 2008/2009 promotion round before applying again for the award, which recognises academic institutions for their commitment to gender equality. At least a Bronze level is required in order to be eligible to receive research funding from 2019 on.
NUI Galway’s action regarding the application is still unclear because there has been no official statement and the application has not been posted on the university website, as it is supposed to be. This is in contrast to Maynooth University, which not only announced on its website on Dec. 1st, the day after the closing date, that it had resubmitted an application for the award but also posted a copy of its application. Maynooth and NUI Galway are the only universities in Ireland yet to receive Bronze awards. However, this round constitutes Maynooth’s second attempt, not its third as in the case of NUI Galway. Every other Irish university, except NUI Galway, received a Bronze-level award on their second attempt.

Maynooth’s application includes some impressive facts, many of which show up NUI Galway. For instance:

  1. The percentage of professors at Maynooth University who are women has increased to 31%  This is the second-highest in the sector. At NUI Galway, just 13% of professors are female — the lowest in the sector.
  2. Based on feedback from its 2015 application, Maynooth University conducted a ‘culture’ survey  that included 106 survey questions and space for detailed comments. As far as we know, NUI Galway has undertaken no survey of its staff for its third application.
The campaign suspects that NUI Galway is deliberately avoiding letting anyone know about its Athena SWAN application in order to prevent objections. This would not be without precedent: NUI Galway posted its second application only after it was turned down. Until the rejection, the university had posted an incomplete draft.

Our campaign will find out the date that objections must be submitted by and will let you know. It looks like one objection could be NUI Galway’s failure to make its application available. Watch this space!

Leaked offer document reveals NUIG management’s hypocrisy, dishonesty and bullying

The campaign has been sent a copy of the document which details the terms of the final offer to the four women taking court cases. This document, which is appended below, was presented at the last meeting of the university’s Governing Body as mentioned in our previous posting, which also announced NUI Galway’s failure to gain an Athena SWAN award.

Since then, the four women have been under enormous pressure to accept this offer. This pressure has not come just from university management but also from academics, one of them female, with a vested interest in resolving the cases. Dr Elizabeth Tilley, who has been taking a Labour Court case against NUIG for the same promotion round, has accepted an offer made to her, which presumably was similar to this one. The four have been told how unreasonable they are now being and how the University’s Athena SWAN application, and thus all future government grant funding, depends on them being reasonable, etc… But the situation NUI Galway now find themselves in with Athena SWAN is one of their own making. The four women repeatedly delayed starting court cases in an attempt at a resolution, meeting with President Jim Browne several times. He made no offer then. Instead, he told them it was for the women to prove they deserved promotion through the courts!

As well as the hypocrisy of putting the blame on the women, this document is also dishonest and bullying. It is, in fact, typical of the way management has behaved. We will point out five examples:

1. The offer includes €50,000 as compensation ‘in recognition of the administrative flaws identified in the 08/09 SL process’. This is a reference to one of the promoted men in 2008/2009 not being eligible to apply, as revealed by Micheline’s Equality Tribunal ruling. But we have already shown  this was not an administrative mistake, as claimed by management, but a deliberate act by management to promote the ineligible man concerned so he could take up a senior management role. We have so far not revealed all the documents we have which prove this, as some give the name of the individual and we believe he has suffered enough. When management discovered we had these documents (which were sent to management when they were sent to us), Jim Browne wrote to the man and asked him to resign his post because he was not good enough at it!

2. The document detailing the offer fails to acknowledge that the women have a far greater case than simply one man being ineligible for promotion. Micheline has always said that her access to all the application forms through her Equality Tribunal case showed her there were six other men who did not deserve promotion over the women. We have already worked out who four of them must be: three were men recently appointed to the top end of the Junior Lecturer pay scale whose research brought in large grant money. They didn’t qualify for promotion according to the guidelines for the ’08/’09 round but were fast tracked, nonetheless. A retired senior academic has told Micheline he saw a list of individuals with FT written next to some names. We believe that was management arranging for that fast tracking.

3. The offer includes the possibility of the four women’s current application for promotion to Senior Lecturer being assessed by an ‘independent, external academic peer review adjudicator panel’. Well, if NUI Galway can do that for the current promotion round, why can’t they do it for the round of ’08/’09? They still have all the application forms for the four women as well as the men who were promoted – we know that because they had to supply them in Micheline’s case to the Equality Officer, who concluded that Micheline deserved promotion over several of the promoted men (see the ruling). But management has never, ever considered any such investigation into the ’08/’09 promotion round. Why? Because it was corrupt and they were at fault.

4. The document makes reference to a ‘duty of care’ that NUI Galway has towards the academics involved in assessing the ’08/’09 round. This is the most gob-smacking claim in this document. Duty of care? What about their duty of care to the four women they have treated so atrociously? What about their duty of care to all the other women whose careers have been blighted by their misogyny and bullying? What about their duty of care to all the academics, male and female, who have been excluded from promotion because of management’s sole pursuit of large research grants? And what about their duty of care to the poor ineligible guy whom they promoted and then forced to resign when his appointment became an embarrassment? Management are not really concerned with their duty of care to the academics involved in the ’08/’09 selection process – many of whom will now be retired and none of whom are going to be harmed by this. It is themselves that management are concerned about protecting!

5. The document concludes with some typical bullying by management.  ‘As NUI Galway is a public body, it is obliged to seek legal costs against the plaintiffs if it is successful in its defence of the litigation issued against it. These actions are likely to cause extensive cost.’ Thus, management first told the women it is for them to prove they deserve promotion through the courts, then tried to have their cases thrown out on a technicality so they couldn’t put forward the details of what actually happened in the 2008-2009 promotion round, and now is threatening them that if they don’t agree to this offer, then they will be hit with all the university’s legal costs as well as their own. That is both hypocrisy and bullying.

What management utterly fails to understand, and what anyone who thinks this is a fair offer also fails to comprehend, is that the four women simply seek due recognition of their worth, not compensation to make up for it. They deserved to be promoted to Senior Lecturer in ’08/’09. If that round had not been so utterly corrupt, they would all have been promoted. That is how 16 men were promoted in ’08/’09 and only one woman, even though more than 50% of Junior Lecturers were women. These four women also deserved the opportunity to put themselves forward for a professorship, as they could have if they had been promoted to Senior Lecturer. Most of those 16 men are now professors. In a fair system, most of these women, including Micheline, would be professors by now. This is what promotion in academia is really about: recognition by your peers of your academic worth. But at NUI Galway, only 12% of professors are women.

Up until now, this campaign has never called for an independent investigation of the ’08/’09 round of promotion because we believed that any body set up by NUI Galway would not be independent. We knew President Jim Browne would do the same as he did with the ‘independent’ Task Force investigating gender inequality in NUI Galway. He chose all the members himself and included cronies he could trust who knew nothing of gender equality, but would make sure it did what he wanted and no more. But Jim will be retired in three months to be replaced by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh of UCD. When the new president of the University of Limerick took up his post, he immediately set up an independent investigation into the scandal involving the bullying of women by management that had occurred under the previous president. We now call on the next NUI Galway president, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh, to do the same when he takes up his post. He has nothing to lose by doing this and much to gain. We also encourage the four women to stand firm and let management squirm. What the four women are doing is not solely for them, it is for all academic women, all of whom deserve due recognition of their worth.

Attached below is the three-page document circulated to all members of NUI Galway’s Governing Body:

Udaras Memo 1Udaras memo 2Udaras memo 3

 

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!

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.

 

Micheline in Village magazine: ‘NUI Galway is actually worse, much worse, than others’

SUMMARY: In case you missed it, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington has written an excellent article in the January 10th, 2017, edition of the Village magazine about the lack of progress regarding gender equality at NUI Galway since winning her gender equality case at the Equality Tribunal in November 2014. The article, titled “Gender-isory: Not much has changed in NUIG on gender equality, two years after successful EAT case”, details the ongoing problems at the university. 

Quoted below is an excerpt of the article:

mich-crop

Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

 

My case was a landmark case partly because, despite being in the public service, universities have a lot of autonomy, as they should. However, this has led to a lack of transparency in processes such as the promotion and appointment of academics. This has in turn led to an abuse, or perceived abuse, of power. The universities have been getting away with this for a long time now. 

 

 

 

 

The article is reprinted here in full on this page or you can read it and view accompanying photos and a graph by clicking on the following link:

http://villagemagazine.ie/index.php/2017/01/gender-isory/

Gender-isory

Not much has changed in NUIG on gender equality, two years after successful EAT case

This November marks the second anniversary of my successful gender equality case at the Equality Tribunal against NUI Galway for its failure to appoint me to the post of Senior Lecturer. It was hailed as a landmark case and should have been a call to arms, not just for NUI Galway, but for all third-level institutions. However, the awakening is slow and I doubt that much has changed on the ground – or in attitudes amongst university management.

Currently, many staff in NUI Galway are disillusioned and afraid. Few staff feel able to challenge the authorities. Many are in precarious posts or worried they won’t be promoted. Some staff, I gather, have been reprimanded for speaking out. Fear has filtered through to the students. Recently a society was told it could not display images of Jim Browne, the NUI Galway President in its ‘Mr Browne’s Boys’ cartoon T-shirts at a table supporting five women lecturers pursuing similar litigation. Last April a cartoon exhibition to raise funds and awareness about the five women was booked on campus by the Students Union, but was taken down by Security in the middle of the night.

My case was a landmark case partly because, despite being in the public service, universities have a lot of autonomy, as they should. However, this has led to a lack of transparency in processes such as the promotion and appointment of academics. This has in turn led to an abuse, or perceived abuse, of power. The universities have been getting away with this for a long time now.

However, change comes slowly because university management is not answerable to any board of trustees or shareholders. The governing bodies seem powerless or unwilling to effect change. Ireland has an appalling international record for gender equality in academia. It has been ranked second worst in Europe after Malta for its Glass Ceiling Index in academia. Irish third-level institutions have a lot of catching up to do.

I donated my €70,000 award to five other women who, despite being fully deserving of promotion, had been unsuccessful. Their course of action is far more difficult, with only the High Court as an option because the Equality Tribunal deadline was long past. What I find extraordinary is that the university, instead of conceding errors were made, has chosen to spend large sums of taxpayers’ money fighting these women in the courts through an on-going, protracted and emotionally draining, to say nothing of financially stressful, legal wrangle.The facts were stark in NUI Galway when I took my case in 2009. The proportion of successful applicants was stunningly different for men and women. 50% of male candidates were successful compared to the 6.7% of female candidates who were successful (see Table 1). Summing up twelve points in my favour, the Equality Tribunal ruling highlighted that “perhaps the most significant frailty in the respondent’s [NUI Galway’s] rebuttal” was that in all four recent rounds of promotion to Senior Lecturer combined, men had a one in two and women less than a one in three chance of being promoted. One successful man had not even been eligible to apply.

The Equality Tribunal ruling specified that NUI Galway should send a report to what is now the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission within 12 months of the ruling. I recently got hold of this and am stunned at what took them 13 months to deliver. It comprises two parts, the larger part being an appendix. The first part, three pages long, sets the tone in stating that “a review had already been underway” but fails to specify that this ‘review’ was actually completed in 2011, three years before the Equality Tribunal ruling and is in fact referred to in the ruling.

The first part goes on to repeat the recommendations from that report and devotes one page to the recommendations for the 2013/14 round of promotions, initiated a year before the ruling. No reference is made to the fact that 20 of the candidates deemed suitable but not promoted in that round appealed and that only 18% of female candidates were promoted compared to 35% of male candidates. The consultant’s report commissioned on the back of these appeals is not available even under Freedom of Information (FOI).


There was a burst of outrage in the university on foot of my successful case and the action taken by the five other women. The injustice to the five women was immediately raised at the NUI Galway Údarás (Governing Body). I understand the discussion was heated. However, the minutes of that elevated body are only available under FOI where, as part of the process, any useful information has been redacted. Several heated meetings of the NUI Galway Academic Council, that comprises professors, deans and heads of school, and so is overwhelmingly male, resulted in nothing. It was told it was powerless to change matters.

Large numbers of students joined the campaign to support the five women, horrified to learn that they had not been promoted. “I am joining the campaign because [name of one of the five women] is the best lecturer I’ve ever had” was a common refrain. The Students Union and both staff unions gave their full support and 26 student societies signed up in solidarity to the campaign. This support continues.

What has happened since? A task force was established with much public fanfare and it delivered its final report in May 2016. This was hard-hitting, if limited, since it did not address the position of the five women or focus on non-academic staff, where matters are even worse.

The recommendations of the task force are not faring particularly well. It recommended that 50% of the “major influential” committees should be chaired by women by 2018. However, College Deans (all men) chair such committees and three of them were recently replaced by three more men. The task force suggested a cascade system of promotion. This is being watered down. Although 52% of lecturers are women, only 40% and not 52% of those promoted are required to be women, according to Equality Manager Aoife Cooke.

A new Vice President for Equality and Diversity has been appointed with a starting salary of €106,000 per annum. She may bring about some change, but I have always queried the necessity for this new post that costs more than it would to promote the five women. Sadly, the new Vice President appears to be focusing not on results but on the message that “NUI Galway is no worse than any other university”. This sums up the university’s concern. Image supersedes staff welfare. They are even planning to apply for an Athena Swan award, that recognises advancement of gender equality in universities, while continuing to fight the five women in the Courts. NUI Galway is actually worse, much worse, than others, as HEA figures show.

The Higher Education Authority set up an expert group on gender issues and its report, published last June, includes gendered statistics for Higher Education Institutions. This year’s rankings show NUI Galway, with 21% female senior staff (Professors and Senior Lecturers) to be a clear 6% lower than the next in line, UCC with 27%. These rankings, however, are never referred to and other rankings don’t include gender balance in their metrics. One can only hope there will be competition to avoid being bottom of the list in the rankings, thus bringing about at least some real improvements for female academics.