[KS] Alert! SOAS is sacking its specialist Korean/Japanese/Chineselibrarians

Owen Miller owen at saudade.plus.com
Tue Oct 4 05:39:05 EDT 2005

Thanks for bringing this up on the KS list Aidan. 

As a student at SOAS perhaps I have slightly more freedom to talk about this than staff, although I can't offer too much more in the way of up-to-date information. I can say though, without reservation that everyone at SOAS apart from the management of the School and the library are appalled by this on many different levels. Both the treatment of the staff in question and the way this has been carried out have been very bad, not to mention the consequences for the future of Korean, Japanese and Chinese studies at SOAS and in the UK in general.

Protests so far have included the resignations of some 20 staff from their non-teaching positions, and a petition, which I believe included all or almost all research students in East Asia. From outside the School there have been numerous letters from academics and even diplomats I believe, but it seems that the School administration is refusing to listen to anyone and does not intend to back down.

There are, as I understand it, other possible forms of pressure in the offing. And a campaign website doesn't sound like a bad idea - I might suggest that to people concerned.

Anyway, all is not lost just yet and the management certainly seem to be worried by the reaction. As you said...
T'ujaengUn kyesok twenda.

Owen Miller
SOAS PhD candidate, Korean History
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Afostercarter at aol.com 
  To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws 
  Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 3:38 PM
  Subject: [KS] Alert! SOAS is sacking its specialist Korean/Japanese/Chineselibrarians

  Dear colleagues,

  A sad and sordid thing is happening at the School of Oriental and African Studies
  (SOAS), which prides itself as the UK's premier institution in this field.

  In a nutshell, SOAS has summarily sacked its specialist librarians for Korean, 
  Japanese and Chinese. It intends to replace them with less qualified staff.
  All this appears to have been done in a most underhand fashion.

  I'm surprised that this scandal has not been more widely publicized.
  As far as I know, no one has previously posted to this List about it.

  Nor do I know of a single full up-to-date narrative, which would be useful
  - a campaign website, perhaps? Despite the ongoing protests, I detect
  some reticence. (It is even suggested that SOAS emails may be monitored!)

  The short items from the Times Higher Education Supplement etc, below,
  give some idea of the issues. Frank Shulman kindly forwarded much 
  correspondence to the BAKS list, which those who have access to that
  can read. I append some of it herewith

  Anyone who wishes to comment might care to contact either or both of:
  * the Director of SOAS, Professor Colin Bundy (cb3 at soas.ac.uk)
  * the Librarian, Anne Poulson (ap45 at soas.ac.uk).

  The latest position as of today (Monday October 3) follows immediately.
  As we used to say, a luta continua.

  Aidan FC

  Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University 
  Home address: 17 Birklands Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3BY, UK 
  tel: +44(0)  1274  588586         (alt) +44(0) 1264 737634          mobile:  +44(0)  7970  741307 
  fax: +44(0)  1274  773663         ISDN:   +44(0)   1274 589280
  Email: afostercarter at aol.com     (alt) afostercarter at yahoo.com      website: www.aidanfc.net
  [Please use @aol; but if any problems, please try @yahoo too - and let me know, so I can chide AOL]
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