By Kay Channon
Dedicated to Professor Hakim Adi and any other Educators who are facing unfair treatment from their employers.
I. Slashing an axe through Black African history Is a shameful act of tyranny. Universities claim to be places of equality, Yet, behind the scenes, they’re drowning in hypocrisy. Fickle fencers mould footprints, littered with lines and graphs, potential business models, without consulting their teaching staff.
As along as the boat stays afloat,
who cares how many times we snap the mast. The past has passed.
The wind has changed.
No one will remember,
what used to remain.
We can always reinvent, reclaim,
Maybe even change the ship’s name. Nothing too radical though, as the cargo below can still hear the waves, and if the storm grows too loud, they will have their say.
Fourteen days to build a lifeboat of their own, with the fate of PhD students unknown.
A single course seems to be set,
towards a line of thankless dread
suggesting what the ‘powers that be’ haven’t said.
Stone stilted silence
gives rise to verbal violence, regarding the lack of clarity and muddied waters, without transparency.
Ores push and pull,
with disregard, for learning quality scores.
IIII. If someone else approaches the boat we may throw them a swimming float, but only if we like what we see, and can map a clear trajectory. We’ve chosen to close the entrance to Level Seven, In order to give levels Four, Five, and Six more attention. Your voice isn’t as loud now you see, unless you have a Marketing Degree or care about the deck’s reflective vanity; The university’s money ‘dream scheme’. We must shine the brightest, the big VC’s, and of course, eat and swallow the word diversity; Streamline the boat.
You gave a lot it’s true,
your research ground-breaking, making the news.
But now, we’re not sure where you could fit.
the course you wrote too small for our great ship,
(when we examined the remaining gold...)
We didn’t tell you before, not wanting to upset the students already aboard.
V. So the ship remains adrift, with too many captains and not enough crew to make ‘just’ moves; but there’s always a wooden plank, ready to be used. Research and loyalty are brushed aside, suggesting this could be any other boat ride. Teachers are pushed to the back of the rudder, their ears pierced by the echo of thunder, stumbling in the dark, clutching a lifejacket close to their heart, waiting,
for the deafening sound,
of the next frogmarch.
Professor Hakim Adi addressing crowd at the Reparations March in Brixton, UK August 1st 2023