Swansea University has been making headlines quite frequently recently. Very often these are good headlines, charting the university’s rapid rise up the league tables, strong performance in student wellbeing surveys and employability credentials, but more recently we have been subject to headlines of a very different kind. The School of Management in particular has been receiving a lot of negative attention, not just from local press but from national newspapers. Many allege that since the takeover of the department by Nigel Piercy and his son Niall last year, student and staff satisfaction has declined, with rumblings about rigged marking, aggressive management and an ongoing academic exodus (40% turnover of staff in the past 12 months!) leaving many students and alumni worried about the integrity of their degrees.

The level of concern has reached such a point that Ilana Cohen, Swansea Student Union’s full-time education officer has started a petition calling for “a mutually agreed plan of action” to tackle the negative publicity that the university has been receiving as a result of the issue. Cohen has told The Siren that “although I had expressed my concerns regarding the controversy all Summer […] I was met with empty answers and extensively patronised”, to the extent that she was told it was “none of her business”. Needless to say, it is generally accepted that issues involving students’ educations falls within the purview of an education officer. Ms Cohen also adds that a meeting to discuss the campaign was quashed by fears that many students had expressed about jeopardising their marks. Students and staff have reportedly been cautious about showing support for the campaign due to what many feel is “a culture of fear” within the School of Management.

We at The Siren wish to be the first publication to express our unreserved support for the petition. Furthermore we feel it is important that students from outside the School of Management take an active interest in protecting the reputation of our university. Every degree from every department has its value determined by others’ perceptions of the university, and although we cannot speak to the absolute veracity of certain claims, we feel that the general sense of discontent and amount of negative press issuing from the School of Management is such that something needs to be done. Moreover, and more immediately, The Siren believes that – while the prestige of individual degrees may be concerning to all students – the wellbeing of students and staff is paramount, and any situation which leaves people feeling intimidated by university management is absolutely untenable.

One source close to the Student’s Union told The Siren that they had been chastised for “damaging the reputation of the university” by signing the petition, but we believe that it is leaving these issues unresolved that will bring the university into disrepute. The Siren therefore urges you to sign the petition and take part in the campaign to protect Swansea University.

At time of writing, the petition stands at 1,041 signatures, and can be found here

If you wish to dispute the claims made in this article, contact us at thesirenswansea@hotmail.co.uk and we will happily discuss posting your response.