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Withdraw David Willetts' invitation to deliver the 2012 JD Bernal Lecture

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Dear Professor Latchman

We are writing to express our shock and dismay on hearing that David Willetts has been invited to give this year's Bernal lecture at Birkbeck. You will recall that that in November last year, Birkbeck Academic Board carried a motion of no confidence in the policies of the White Paper on Education. Inviting the chief architect of this White Paper to Birkbeck barely a year after it was unanimously rejected by Academic Board, and at a time when the wider College community is in one way or another suffering the consequences of this reckless policy, could reasonably be interpreted as a dismissal of the views expressed at the Board and shared by many across our College.

It is also odd, to say the least, that with no apparent training in science or any direct work experience in or near the scientific community, Mr Willetts should be granted the honour of speaking in memory of one of our College's most prominent scientists (and a communist, to boot).

Mr. Willetts is likely to be unwelcome if he comes to Birkbeck on October 18th, and his public address in College that evening will generate a sense of unease among our academic community.

We therefore urge you and Professor Waksman to withdraw this ill-advised invitation.

Yours sincerely

Birkbeck UCU Committee
email ucu@bbk.ac.uk web: www.bbk.ac.uk/ucu



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