Minutes: GUCU General Meeting 15th March 2017

Goldsmiths UCU General Meeting
12:00-13:00, 15 March 2017
Room: EB 220

M Carty: Minutes

  1. Attendance: Quorate meeting
  2. Apologies Kate Devlin, Roger Green, Tassia Kobylinska
  3. Previous meeting – NSS boycott
  4. Workload -We had another push in the last couple of weeks . MC will contact Ed Bailey to see how HQ can assist with analysis .We are also going to ask for colleagues to provide case studies within Departments/ Programmes .
  5. Congress:

Mary Claire and M Carty were duly elected as delegates to conference.

The motion on Mental Health and the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism were both passed -nem con. Please see motions below.

Action: Branch Administrator to submit motions to UCU.

  1.  Arts Against Cuts Branch motion– passed nem con
  2. Gold paper petition

Susan Kelly brought the leaflets. We distributed them to the meeting. They will be available from the SU and at the reception of the RHB. S Kelly will send round a doodle poll for volunteers to leaflet students on campus and discus the issues over the next week and half.

  1. AoB
  2. a) We also passed nem con  the following Branch motion regarding children on campus:-
  • Children on Campus: Contextualisation

Message from DBM in Educational Studies

Following a number of occasions where students have bought their child(ren) into taught sessions (whether it is for an emergency or using college as a childcare alternative) and after enquiring with Central Services, I have received the following statement from the Lead of Student Services:

‘In order to provide all students with an equitable learning environment, only registered students are permitted entry into seminars, lectures and tutorials.  Children of students are unfortunately not permitted as we need to ensure that all students, including student parents can fully participate in their learning experience.

If students need advice about childcare, they can visit the Student Centre.  Staff can talk them through available funding and local providers. If students find themselves lacking childcare on a short term basis, and cannot arrange an alternative, they are advised to contact their department to let them know that they cannot attend and arrange to access learning resources via email or the VLE.

This statement will also appear in all departmental student handbooks and module guides going forward.’

Therefore please could all tutors to ensure that if a student does turn up with a child(ren), that they are reminded that this is not permissible and that they should return home with immediate effect.”

  • Branch Motion concerning children on campus

Goldsmiths UCU branch expresses its concern at the above statement concerning the children of Goldsmiths students and, by implication, the children of Goldsmiths staff.

  • We consider this directive to be in direct contradiction to Goldsmith’s stated family friendly policies and that to turn students away due to childcare difficulties does not reflect the ethos of the college. As an institution that places students at the centre of all that we do, we should recognise that, on occasions, as a result of childcare arrangements being disrupted, students may need to bring their children to lectures, seminars or tutorials.
  • We therefore call upon the college to not include the above directive in any Goldsmiths documentation or communication with students or staff.
  1. b) Promotion Survey – Des outline the purpose of the survey which is to get data/info on criteria regarding promotion within the college.
  2. c) Stand up to racism

Demonstration Saturday 18th March . Meet at Westminster University 309 Regent street at12.00

Mental Health HE Conference Motion

Conference notes

The rising pressure on staff and students’ mental health due to increased debt, casualisation and workloads (that include, for staff, pastoral care of students in distress).

Conference believes

Mental health is a growing and urgent concern for both staff and students and that UCU must address the roots of the problem and campaign for high quality mental health care provision on campuses

Conference instructs

  1. The HEC to lobby UCEA to instruct employers to conduct an audit of mental health services available for staff and students in higher education institutions and to draw up terms and conditions that explicitly recognise mental health as a workplace issue
  2. To campaign for a commitment that institutions should review mental health services and devote an agreed proportion of revenue to in-house mental health services that are tailored to higher education.

 

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism Congress Motion

Congress notes

  1. The need to tackle anti-Semitism
  2. That government has formally adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism
  3. That this definition conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of the state of Israel and has been used to intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not anti-Semitic.

Congress affirms

That UCU is firmly committed to protecting the rights of free speech and academic freedom of its members.

Congress resolves to:

  1. Write to all members to ask them to inform the union of any use of the IHRA definition to suppress legitimate debate
  2. Conduct research about the implications of the use of the IHRA definition
  3. Lobby government to seek a review of its endorsement of the IHRA definition and to replace it with one that will both protect free speech and combat anti-Semitism.

 

Arts against cuts Branch Motion
Signatories needed! Shutdown LD50 Gallery in London / Neo Nazism & Art in Dalston

Hi Comrades,

We are writing to you to ask that you sign an open letter that will go out in next couple of days. It will go out after we reach a critical mass of signatories. Its important to have organised groups making up the bulk of the list ( we have about 10 so far and are waiting on confirmations from many). Below is an almost final draft of the letter. Please get in touch, if you have any questions. Apologies for haste and late notice! Please feel free to forward this email, but we ask that the letter is not shared until we have a substantial supporting list. further details are attached.

Solidarity.

—–

LD50 is an art gallery and project space based at 2–4 Tottenham Road, Dalston, Hackney, known until recently for exhibitions of work by UK artists such as Jake and Dinos Chapman. As of 10 February 2017, it has been disclosed that the Gallery has also curated one of the most extensive programmes of racist hate speech to take place in London over the past ten years. At first in secret, LD50 has acted as a platform for a cross-section of the most virulent advocates of contemporary extreme-right, racist ideology.

The speakers who participated in the events occurring between 24 July and 7 August include, among others, Peter Brimelow and Brett Stevens. Brimelow is described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a leading ‘anti-immigrant activist’ and a publisher of work by prominent anti-Semites. Brett Stevens publicly supported the actions of Anders Breivik. Although presented under the heading of ‘Neo-Reaction’ (or ‘NRx’), several of the speakers at the conference are also connected to the better known ‘alt-right’ (commonly associated with Richard Spencer).

It cannot creditably be argued that the talk series was an instance of artistic license or of the free-spirited ‘exploration’ of ideas. The fact that the gallerists decided to make the details of their conference public only in late November, after the Trump election victory, is the clearest possible evidence of conscious and malicious intent. It also demonstrates once again – as if it still needed to be proved – the connection between racist state politics and the upsurge of bigotry and intolerance in our local communities.

We are presently in a dangerous political period. Values of openness, democracy, and social equality need to be defended unstintingly. A success for the newly formed Shut Down LD50! campaign will demonstrate that racists cannot take advantage of the prevailing political climate in order to propagate violent and exclusionary ideas in proudly diverse communities like Hackney. Freedom of speech is an important ideal, but it can only be upheld in a society in which all groups are treated as equals; not in one where some groups are treated as if they are inferior to others, whether because of ‘race’, gender or sexual orientation. The widespread recognition of this fact is the result of courageous campaign work by many different groups (including especially minority groups) over a period of many decades.

For these reasons, as anti-racists, community activists, residents of Dalston, academics and artists, we join the Shut Down LD50! Campaign to demand that the LD50 gallery be closed, and we call on artists and others concerned to break all connections with the Gallery, along with any other institutions that work with and support the projects of racists and fascists. Racists and fascists have absolutely no place in our communities, where threatened minority groups have fought tirelessly to oppose them. Hate speech can never be ‘free speech’ when it advocates violence in the pursuit of authoritarianism and racial supremacy.

Signed,