AUSTRALIA: Abandon feudal relationships

From Giles Pickford

Maree Conway is right in her comment on Professor Marcia Devlin's article: the energy and creativity of professional staff are vital to the university. Thirty years ago, they used to be called the menial staff, then the downstairs staff, then the general staff, and now the most demeaning of all names, the non-academic staff - defined by what they are not.

This is spite of the fact that most of them have very good degrees and are only different from their colleagues in the university because they chose to administer the place instead of teach in it.

There is an argument running out there that we should not be called professional staff because that implies that the academic staff are not professional. This is a classic example of the Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle and an illustration of the failure of some people to think clearly.

An academic does not cease to be professional just because a colleague who does not teach becomes professional. Please let us start working together and get rid of the old feudal relationship.

Giles Pickford
Retired university administrator