Yes, we know, but why is what we want to know

This isn’t to comment on the decision itself – about which I know nothing, Rather, the ghastly bureaucratese of the justification.

Oxford University in ageism row as celebrated poets ineligible for top job because they are too old

Well, OK. It’s this that grates:

A spokesperson for the university said: “The University of Oxford operates an Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) for employees in all academic posts.

“From 1 October 2017, the University has adopted an EJRA of 30 September before the employee’s 69th birthday. Despite its unusual appointment process and duties, as an employed professorship the Professorship of Poetry is subject to the EJRA.”

Yes, yes, we know what you’ve done. What we want to know is why?

9 comments on “Yes, we know, but why is what we want to know

  1. Why? Because if they don’t they’ll have half their jobs held by people in their seventies and eighties.

    You would struggle to justify sacking an 85 year old poet on physical grounds. So how do you get rid of dead wood? Appoint a forty year old and watch them sit in the job for 50 years as the get increasingly past their prime.

    I wonder what the opinion of the up and coming applicants is to being told the elderly are going to lock it down.

    That Attenborough is still going isn’t proof everyone will be doing so. The reality is that ages bites quite strongly at 70 for many of us.

  2. Chester Draws is probably right. Though the Professor of Poetry is elected for a 5-year fixed term, so that would hardly be a problem in this case.

  3. With age comes scepticism which may not chime with certain enthusiasms currently popular in adademia.

  4. Sorry, but the fate of the Professorship of Rhymes & Limericks is not amongst my most pressing concerns,, at the moment.

  5. It is odd. The point of this professorship is not to reward a teacher but to pay a creative type to hang around the university, give a few lectures and just do creative stuff. Rather in the way George 1 had Handel as his court composer. Why should age matter? It is a reward for having created good stuff in the past

  6. Bureaucrats make a living by trying to impose uniformity. Then make a bit more of a living by considering whether there should be special exemptions. Then make even more by setting up an appeals process. And so ad infinitum.

  7. It’s like those complaints that High Court judges are old – well, to become a High Court judge you have to have been a judge for an amount of time, and to become a judge you have to have been a lawyer for a certain amount of time, so that automatically means you’ll be old by the time you become a HCJ. It’s as though people don’t understand the functioning of time itself.

  8. The job includes a minimal but non-zero work requirement with no provision for dismissal in the event of inability to do the job. They want someone who will still be able to do the job in four years and 364 days’ time.

  9. It is not a fucking job. It is a reward for creativity or scholarship. It is an adornment to the university not part of the function. Much like the BBC boasts of the Attentwat when it shows its stupid programmes about climate armageddon

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