Provost chased down Gordon Street

In an extraordinary scene, Malcolm Grant was pursued along Gordon Street on Wednesday by UCL staff and Union leadership.

Malcolm Grant Provost strikes ucl UCU

On Wednesday afternoon Malcolm Grant, Provost of UCL, was chased along Gordon Street by UCL ISD staff members and a leading member of the University and College Union.

When confronted by the Union reps, the Provost engaged the Union representatives in conversation. He appeared calm and continued to walk along Gordon Street near to the Christopher Ingold Building before crossing the road towards the main UCL site.

Video footage obtained by The Buzz shows the aftermath of the incident. Tony Brown the UCL UCU Branch President who led the group explains that they were unsuccessful in getting the answers they wanted from the Provost and outlines the group’s intended course of action.

In a subsequent interview for The Buzz, Tony Brown admitted that whilst not answering all their questions, the Provost had been "polite”.

The approximately 10 staff members alongside Tony Brown when they confronted the Provost were ISD staff concerned about the effects of outsourcing and the introduction of Smart-IT.

In a letter to the Provost passed to The Buzz, the ISD staff complain that not enough risk analysis has been done regarding the introduction of Smart-IT and that the consultation period had not been extended from 30 to 90 days. The letter goes on to compare the Provost to “King Priam, ignoring the warnings of Cassandra on bringing the wooden horse into Troy.”

However, the letter also makes clear that ISD Director, Mike Cope has stressed that the “views of staff have been actively sought through extensive consultation at meetings, drop in sessions and workshops.”

When asked about his motivation for chasing the Provost, Tony Brown stated that he wanted to illustrate that opposition to the changes to ISD did not just come from “a few, mouthy, Left, activist reps.” However he described initially seeing the Provost as “pure chance”. Brown went on to threaten strike action if ISD staff were faced with any compulsory redundancies.

The Provost had earlier in the year faced a No-Confidence motion but students voted in his favour 1699 to 1185.