Students and Universities - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Contents

E-mail from Mr Cairns to the Committee on 23 March 2009

  In response to your email, I hereby relate the circumstances in which I was formally expelled from the Academic Board of the Manchester Metropolitan University at its meeting of Wednesday, 18/3/2009.

The question of the Select Committee submissions made by Susan Evans and myself arose during the Vice-Chancellor's Report (Agenda item 3). He expressed his disquiet and disappointment, repeated the disgraceful slur that the contentious mark increase for International Business Law was largely due to the poor standard of my teaching, and invited comments.

  I immediately raised my hand, to be met with an icy stare from the Vice-Chancellor coupled with the question "Can I ask you to speak last?" I complied, taking this to mean that I would be given an opportunity to respond to all the flak—including that thrown by the V-C himself—that would be cast in my direction from various other Board members. The latter duly complied. This included Dennis Dunn, a senior Academic Board member who falsely claimed that he had been part of an Academic Board Panel of Enquiry organised to investigate this matter—and Stuart Horsburgh, who was the Chair of the Board of Examiners relating to the 2005 International Business Law results. The Dean of my own Faculty, Ann Holmes also weighed in heavily against me.

  The Vice Chancellor then said: "These contributions fully confirm my own views on the subject. I therefore propose a vote of no-confidence in Mr Cairns which, if it succeeds, will cause him to leave this Board". The motion was duly seconded, the members of the Board (with one exception) duly raised their hands, and I was asked to leave—which I did.

  I therefore find myself expelled having had no opportunity to defend myself, and having been misled into the belief that I would be given that opportunity. This, I believe, amounts to unwarranted and vicious retaliation by the University's authorities. I hereby request the Select Committee on IUSS, more particularly its Chair, to take appropriate action.

March 2009

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