Education, News, Politics & Society

University of Leicester monitoring staff’s social media, say academics.

Written by Toby Cray

The University of Leicester has been accused of monitoring social media accounts of staff members by three academics.

Staff at the university are currently in talks with executive management, as part of the 90-day formal redundancy consultation.

Trust between staff and the University’s management seems to be very low, with Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy, an Associate Professor in the English department, posting on Twitter:

“I am being monitored on Twitter, I have had screenshots taken of my private Facebook account (which has never been public […] which are being used against me by the University.

“This is happening at a time when I am very sick with post-Covid complications, physically exacerbated by the appalling workstress I have endured over the past month, and now on sick leave.”

The disinvestment proposals have faced widespread criticism, with numerous petitions from staff, students, and fellow academics all condemning the handling of the proposals.

A University of Leicester spokesperson said: “The University of Leicester uses social media as a means of communication with students, staff, alumni and the wider community, as part of which we celebrate good news stories.”

They continued: “Whilst social media is an important means of staying in touch, we do expect our staff to respect the principles outlined in our company social media policy and Dignity and Respect Policy; posts that do not respect these policies will be reviewed and action taken if appropriate.”

Keir Milburn, a lecturer in Political Economy and Organisation, spoke about the monitoring of social media on Owen Jones’s YouTube show, stating:

“Staff who are not threatened with redundancy have been warned about what they like or retweet on social media in relation to these redundancies.”

David Harvie, Leicester UCU communications officer, spoke about this in an update on the talks between the university and staff, stating:

“Members of the executive board appear to spend a lot of time monitoring our words on social media, not just the Leicester UCU account, they are monitoring dozens of accounts, and then they are berating those who dare to argue against their incompetent plans.”

Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy’s Twitter account no longer exists.

Toby Cray is a second-year journalism student at the University of Leicester. You can find him on Instagram here: @toby5.c