REF: Tears of rage, tears of grief

I received the following email.   It says something about the fear seeping its way through UK universities that the author asks that I keep her name and institution anonymous:

Dear Professor Sayer,

I’ve read about your REF action in several outlets including the THES and progressive geographies. I’m sure you’re getting lots of email traffic.
Reading about your willingness to stand up in this way about problematic aspects of the way universities are playing the REF or claiming to play it, has been a huge boost to my faith in academics, though not in academia. Some of the people whose academic writings I have admired over the years have participated blood-thirstily (or with embarrassment, but with the same effects) in the opaque and biased internal decisions around the inclusion and exclusion process.
As a member of a trade union branch I’ve witnessed the process bring long-standing academic colleagues with excellent books to their name, who are ‘excluded’ to tears, men and women alike, and plant seeds for intellectual bullying, administrative bullying and general deterioration of scholarship in years to come.
So, on behalf of myself, and of many colleagues who would not be willing to be named, I suspect, I’d like to thank you. I hope your action is taken seriously and bears some fruit.

Sincerely,

<Name withheld>

Reprinted with permission (and thanks)

Note  The original version of this post also contained a hyperlink to a YouTube satirical video on the REF.  Since the author subsequently took it down, I think it best to drop all reference to it.  I have retitled the post accordingly (the original title was drawn from the video).


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