News just in that the “Extraordinary Meeting” at the Royal Institution in London has broken up, with the attempt to vote out the Trustees defeated Mark Henderson of the Times and Ian Sample of the Guardian have been “live-tweeting” the event for the last couple of hours, so you can consult their feeds to get a minute-by-minute account of proceedings. Mark Henderson reports the votes as 121 for sacking the council (the elected Trustees who have legal reponsibility for running the Royal Institution), and 512 against.
Mark also reports one member saying he
“Thought I was here to vote on replacement of council. It seems we’re here to debate reinstatement of the director”
Speaking of which, the vote surely represents a disappointment for at length in the media. The rebels in tonight’s vote were widely identified in the media as Greenfield’s supporters, and some stories even suggested they were ultimately seeking her reinstatement. Greenfield stated on Radio 4’s World at One today that she was not behind the campaign (more here).
The background to the whole affair, of course, is the parlous state of the RI’s finances, briefly discussed on Nature.com and in NN’s London Blog back in December. It was revealed in the meeting that the Royal Institution is currently losing about £ 100,000 a month. Tonight’s decision means the current Trustees/Council are being trusted to try and sort things out.
Though there now seems zero chance of Greenfield being reinstated, it seems unlikely we have heard the last word in respect of her time at the RI. Reports in January indicated that Greenfield was filing a sex discrimination claim against the Royal Institution; more recent stories seem to confirm this, and Mark Henderson reports today that “Susan Greenfield says her legal action will go on”.
Among the speeches tonight, several which were apparently loudly applauded called for those proposing sacking the Council, and those supporting them, to put their heads together and try and work out a way forward. Let’s hope that is what happens, and that the RI can first attain some stability, and then move forward and find an effective role.———————————————————————————————————-
Report from the Guardian here.
And the BBC
And the Financial Times
And the Telegraph
A more extended piece from Times Online by Mark Henderson and Hannah Devlin contains the following:
“The [Royal Institution], however, is still facing legal action by Lady Greenfield, who said she would continue to pursue an employment tribunal claim alleging unfair dismissal and sex discrimination. She said last night that she would continue to pursue it.
“I have no alternative, this is a protective measure,” she said. She acknowledged that if successful, her case could be costly to the RI but said: “It’s not my fault if I was unfairly dismissed. It should not be on me to bear the financial onus. A more cost effective alternative would be to reinstate me as director.” ”