Non Placet: An Open Letter to the UCL Council Regarding My Resignation

To: Members of the UCL Council

Ex Officio
Professor Michael Arthur
Mr Omar Khan
Mr Lukmaan Kolia

Appointed
Mr Ven Balakrishnan
Lord (Tim) Clement-Jones
Dame DeAnne Julius (Chair)
Ms Nahid Majid
Mr Simon Melliss
Ms Lindsay Nicholson
Ms Vivienne Parry, OBE (Vice Chair)
Dr Gill Samuels, CBE
Mr Philip Sturrock, MBE
Baroness Jo Valentine
Baroness (Diana) Warwick

Elected (Professorial)
Professor David Attwell
Professor David Coen
Professor Nick Tyler, CBE

Elected (Non-Professorial)
Dr Martin Fry
Dr John Hurst
Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia

2015-07-13

Dear Members,

I wish to inform you of my resignation of my doctoral studentship at UCL. Further, I hereby publicly renounce the Master of Research degree awarded to me by UCL in 2014.

In my open letter (5th July), I presented an analysis of UCL’s management of the case of Sir Tim Hunt. This analysis is not the most damning analysis possible (or extant), yet still it is damning enough. Hence, the following consists mostly of explanatory notes: not much new material is necessary.

The sacrifices by the high clergy of public relations at UCL in a bid to appease the gods of public opinion are absurd. Although these gods do not always judge rightly, they are perceptive, and are piercing through the haze in which the ritual has been shrouded.

It is strange to see the same lack of courage and obsession with publicity that I have encountered elsewhere in the organisation mirrored here, at an even higher level.

This is an environment in which I do not wish to work: one in which justice appears to be arbitrary, conducted without due process (in such a way as to actually devalue anti-sexism). One in which courage gives way to expedience. One consumed by predilections for publicity activities. The spirit of free enquiry withers in such surroundings. I realise that I am lucky to have the option to escape, while many of my colleagues are not so fortunate.

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude for the gym and libraries at UCL. I trust that I will find suitable replacements.

Sincerely,
Ben Champion

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7 responses to “Non Placet: An Open Letter to the UCL Council Regarding My Resignation

  1. Wonderful courage. May I suggest you consider Cardiff University? Like yourself, its Chancellor, who is a Nobel-Prize winning scientist, did not even receive a response when he wrote to provost Michael Arthur quietly.

  2. Reblogged this on Unfashionista and commented:
    Please read and share: A doctoral student at UCL resigns his doctoral place there in an open letter to the UCL council

    “This is an environment in which I do not wish to work: one in which justice appears to be arbitrary, conducted without due process (in such a way as to actually devalue anti-sexism). One in which courage gives way to expedience. One consumed by predilections for publicity activities. The spirit of free enquiry withers in such surroundings. “

  3. Chris Westwood

    I wish he had competed his degree there. A sad loss to science. Hope he finds a suitable place to study.

  4. Congratulations for aligning you thoughts and life. This seems to me the very definition of freedom.

  5. Will Heilpern

    Hi Ben, I’m a Tab journalist. We’re running a news piece on this and would love to speak to you. Could you get in touch with me via email on ‘heilpernwk@gmail.com’. Thanks

  6. “Where are all the good men?”

    It looks like UCL lost their last one.