240129 Open letter to the Chair of Council concerning SSC

Dear Mr Geffen,

First of all this is the first time that we have made contact with you that we are aware of as the University College Union (UCU) branch committee. We hope that you will wish to engage with us on important matters of deep concern to our members and the wider academic community that should be brought to your attention as chair of the University Council.

You will see that we have attached the following open letter to the executive board following a motion that was passed on 27th November 2023 regarding a very abrupt move of Surrey Space Centre (SSC) to the school of Maths and Physics. We hope you appreciate the impact that this had given the long-standing reputation of SSC and how this has played an important role to staff and students in Electronic Engineering and beyond.

Within the motion we had resolved that one of the actions would be to write to you and invite you to a branch meeting where you would be able to hear from members, not only on this matter specifically but also our wider concerns about the approaches taken by the University leadership that have severe consequences. It is very important in any academic community to uphold the need for academic freedom and democracy so that it will shape a University to best support the needs of the wider society. We therefore hope that you would want to share in our support for this need and come to discuss how this can be better sustained in our academic community.

Yours Sincerely,

The UCU Surrey Committee