Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Martin Smith Off Liverpool University Campus!

*Trigger warning – mentions of rape, rape denial*

A month ago, feminist activists in Liverpool discovered that Martin Smith – the ex-Socialist Workers Party and Unite Against Fascism leader at the centre of rape allegations which the Party covered up – had been given afunded PhD at Liverpool Hope University. This happened in the Social Work department, which is headed by Smith’s former SWP colleague Michael Lavalette. 

The University publicly – through Lavalette’s Facebook page – denied that the Professor had acted improperly in regards to PhD candidateselection. Many took this as a tacit admission that Smith had indeed been given a PhD place. Activists called a mass questioning of the university – by phone, email and fax – asking for further clarification. None was forthcoming.

It has now come to the attention of the Delta Removals campaign that Smith has been put on a distance learning course, meaning that he will only be attending campus infrequently, and may well not be staying in the Liverpool area. This information comes from an anonymous but trusted source.

It is worth emphasising that Hope University – unlike the other two universities in Liverpool – does not currently have a distance learningprogramme. As Smith was on campus at the start of our campaign, this distance learning placement has therefore been created specifically for him following our activities.

Getting him off campus is great news, and should be chalked up as a victory. It shows what can be done with personal determination and political courage. However, questions remain about the future of Smith’s career, and it could be disastrous if he ends up in social work – either in the field or in a teaching role.

We would like to thank all those who have supported us, and we would ask you to spread the word if you hear any more of Smith’s career developments.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Demand Martin Smith Answers from Hope University!

On Monday, 21st September, Angry Women Of Liverpool reported that Martin Smith – who resigned from the Socialist Workers Party following rape and sexual harassment allegations –  is now based in the Social Work department at Liverpool Hope University, and is studying for a funded PhD. They linked Smith's rehabilitation to the fact that SWP loyalist Professor Michael Lavalette is head of the Social Work department.

Since then, neither Lavalette nor Hope University have made any satisfactory public response. Understandably, students and staff will be concerned. So we still need answers to the following serious questions:

·         Is Martin Smith on campus in any capacity?
·         Is Martin Smith studying for a PhD at Hope University?
·         Is this PhD funded? If so, who by?
·         Is Martin Smith going to be teaching during his time at Hope?
·         What role did Professor Lavalette play in Martin Smith coming to Hope?
·         What measures have been put in place to make sure students and staff are safe around Martin Smith?

Delta Removals are calling on anyone concerned by these issues to contact the university this Wednesday, 30th October, between 9 am and 5 pm. Please forward any responses to Delta.Removals2013@gmail.com. Also email this address if you would like to be involved in the campaign.

General university contacts:

Phone: 0151 291 3000

Fax: 0151 291 3000 (Free faxes can be sent from http://www.freepopfax.com/, input number as +44, leaving out first zero)

Twitter: @LiverpoolHopeUK

The following appear to have some level of responsibility for the decision:

Michael Lavalette - Head of Social Work department - 0151 291 3145 - LAVALEM@hope.ac.uk - @mlavalette

Pauline Bray - Faculty Administrator (Social Sciences) - 0151 291 3418 - brayp@hope.ac.uk

John Brinkman - Dean of Sciences and Social Sciences - 0151 291 3611- BRINKMJ@hope.ac.uk

Rachel Foster - Faculty Administrator (Social Work) - 0151 291 3652 - fosterr1@hope.ac.uk

The following may need to be informed of what has happened:

Helen Ashworth - Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies - 0151 291 3742 - walkerh@hope.ac.uk

Ruth Atkinson-McGovern - Student support and well-being administrator - 0151 291 3919 - ATKINSR2@hope.ac.uk

Wendy Bignold - Vice Dean (Student Development and Well-being) - 0151 291 3017  - BIGNOLW@hope.ac.uk

Nicki Blundell - Practice Learning Coordinator (Social Work) - 0151 291 3695 - blunden@hope.ac.uk

Karen Brownrigg - PA to Dean of Students (Student Support and Well-being) - 0151 291 3282 - BROWNRK@hope.ac.uk

Liz Fern - Senior Lecturer in Social Work - 0151 291 3831 - fernl@hope.ac.uk

Barry Goldson - Professorial Fellow in Social Justice (Social Work, Care and Justice) - goldsob@hope.ac.uk

Joe Greener - Lecturer in Social Work - 0151 291 3587 - greenej@hope.ac.uk

Philomena Harrison - Senior Lecturer in Social Work - 0151 291 2045 - harrisp1@hope.ac.uk

David Merryweather - Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies - 0151 291 3886 - MERRYWD@hope.ac.uk

Rich Moth - Lecturer in Social Work - 0151 291 3853 - mothr@hope.ac.uk

Laura Penketh - Senior Lecturer in Social Work/Social Policy - 0151 291 3241 - penketl@hope.ac.uk

Maria Pentaraki - Senior Lecturer in Social Work - 0151 291 3423 - pentam@hope.ac.uk

Monday, 21 October 2013

Martin Smith Given PhD Place at Liverpool Hope University

The following is a repost from the 'Angry Women Of Liverpool' blog.

*Trigger warning- rape and sexual harassment.*

The accusations against Smith were covered up by an internal investigation from the party’s disputes committee. This was set up by the central committee - a body largely consisting of Smith’s friendswho at this point were referring to him as Comrade Delta. The specifics of the case and the handling of the case can be read here, here and here

However, to summarise, not only were the survivors disbelieved and their cases not heard, but party leader and academic Alex Callinicos claimed that the partyand the wider movements of the working class generally - were being damaged by what he termed creeping feminism.
A faction was formed in opposition to the central committee, which led to the expulsion and resignation of dissenting members.

Martin Smith resigned from the party in July, after spending several weeks in Greece ‘researching’ for the party’s front campaign Unite Against Fascism. 

Over the summer, there were rumours online that the children of party founder Tony Cliff were asking SWP members to donate to a fund for Martin Smith to study an MA.

It now transpires that rather than fund an educational ‘break’ directly, the preferred tactic was to get a party member with a position in a university to abuse their academic authority, and sort him with a funded PhD.

Whilst Callinicos might have been too obvious, the lesser known SWP academic and Preston councillor Michael Lavalette does not have the same profile. Lavalette is head of the Social Work, Youth and Justice Department at Hope University, and clearly thought he could help this ‘poor victim of creeping feminism’ out with little to no consequence.

Though the levels of student activism at Hope are depressingly low, the same is not true for feminist activism in the wider city. We have also been made aware of a poster campaign which took place at Hope last night, with the aim of informing female students of the danger on campus.

This is a danger which Professor Lavalette took the decision to bring to Hope, in a department which is supposed to have welfare as its primary concern.

The University have chosen to take on Martin Smith, despite the coverage of the case in the national press. This is arguably a significant breach of their duty of care, and will massively harm the University’s image. We call up on feminist activists nationwide to ensure that this man is unable to remain either at Hope or in in activist circles.

If anyone would like to get involved in building a campaign, please contact Delta.Removals2013@gmail.com