For more information and to register please read the full post by clicking on this link.
Decarbonise & Decolonise 2030 Webinar
The LUCU committee recently discussed UCU’s new Decarbonise & Decolonise 2030 campaign and feel this should be supported by the branch. With this in mind and a campaign on the topic to come, we wish to encourage members interested in the topic (and potentially being involved in the local campaign) to attend the Decarbonise and Decolonise Webinar for UCU members in the East Midlands region on Wednesday 8th September starting at 2pm. For more information on the campaign please click this link where you can find a quick guide pdf for download and further resources.
What to expect from the webinar:
Decarbonise and decolonise is the third in a series of our webinars on the climate crisis, and how we can play our part in resisting it. Building on existing CPD workshops ‘Introduction to climate education’ and ‘Embedding climate education in the curriculum’, SOS-UK have developed for UCU a ‘Decarbonise and decolonise‘ workshop to introduce members to the interconnectivity of these two agendas and identify opportunities to take action.
To take part in this webinar you do not need to have completed the previous sessions. This workshop will give an overview of climate justice, and how this links to the concepts of decolonising and decarbonising as the structural and systemic roots of the human-induced climate crisis. We will explore examples of climate injustice, and how this often intersects with issues like race, gender, class and indigeneity. We will also look at examples of when sustainability actions and initiatives have not taken an intersectional approach, with discussions on how we can avoid this in education to create sustainability activities that recognise and work to challenge the harmful legacies of colonialism and imperialism.
Learning Aims – The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:
- provide an introductory understanding of climate justice and its connection with decolonising and decarbonising
- support participants to identify opportunities to apply decolonising and decarbonising for climate justice to the education sector
- encourage participants to develop their own practice to consider climate justice and intersectionality
- explore the role of UCU branches and members in mobilising action for decolonising and decarbonising.
How UCU CPD webinars work
The taught session will last for about 75 minutes, after which time we take 15-20 minutes to discuss the issues raised. The total time commitment will be around an hour and a half.
You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. UCU would also recommend that you check that you can use zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.
Once registered you will be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using zoom. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. UCU would also recommend that you do join 5 to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems. Live transcription will be available.
If you have any questions please email Glen at email@example.com
If you require any additional support in accessing or taking part in this webinar please let Glen know ASAP so that he can do everything possible to help.
UCU Week of Action Against Workplace Racism
(22-26 February 2021)
LUCU would like to call members’ attention to this week of national action. Action Against Workplace Racism aims to encourage anti-racist initiatives in further and higher education to transform education by placing the broader anti-racist agenda at the centre of our thinking – from how we relate to each other as colleagues to how we teach and carry out research/enterprise activities.
The theme for this week of national action is Community Accountability: an antiracism for abolitionist times. For more information about the lived experiences of racism, its impacts on Black and Global Majority people in education, and how we might act to bring about change, members may find the following video material of interest.
You can find out more about the UCU campaign here.
Loughborough UCU: Position Statement on Race Equality
LUCU recommends that the University:
- Be open and transparent regarding race inequality statistics at the university with the intention to improve outcomes and achieve parity over time
- Be pro-active in taking positive action to improve outcomes for staff and students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, with a focus on increasing BAME leadership for staff and closing the degree awarding gap for BAME students
- Refrain from considering ‘BAME’ and/or ‘international’ as static, homogenous categories, and instead seek to take account of the specific forms of oppression and exploitation which different groups face
- Draw upon and utilise expertise from within its academic community and beyond to inform its definitions, processes and procedures around race equality and ensure they are fit for purpose.
- Challenge racist legislation from the Home Office surrounding the surveillance of international students and staff, and comply to only the legally minimal extent
- Increase financial and legal support to international staff struggling with time-consuming and costly procedures regarding their citizenship, settled status and/or right to work in the UK (and similar)
- Reduce reliance on casual contracts (including zero hours contracts), as they disproportionately affect BAME colleagues
- Become an accredited Living Wage employer on both campuses, considering the fact that low pay disproportionately affects BAME colleagues
- Be willing to engage with and take on board constructive critique regarding race-related matters at the university
- Recognise how intersectionality can result in particular groups of staff and students’ facing specific problems or disadvantages which remain unaddressed by initiatives focussing only on one aspect of their identity, demographic characteristics and/or social positionality.
- Ensure BAME staff are recognised and compensated for their efforts and contributions to the race equality and EDI strategies of the university through accurate citation and agreed workload hours, secondment time or additional payments. Additional payments should also be available to casual staff, who should be encouraged to contribute and rewarded where they do so.
- Create and promote accessible pathways for students, especially BAME students, to contribute to and demonstrate leadership within the university’s race equality efforts. This may involve creating paid positions for students and pay for these roles should be at a level which acknowledges the importance of the work and the emotional labour it requires.
- Systematise and share knowledge about best practice in race equality throughout the university through staff and student development.
LUCU are pleased to share this Race Equality statement which has been co-developed with LU BAME staff network.
LUCU Statement on Anti-Racism
Black Lives Matter protests in the past week across the United States and worldwide have demonstrated international resistance to, and outrage against, police and white supremacist murders of Black people, most lately George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, as well as David McAtee and Jamel Floyd who were killed by police during the protests. Many people who want to condemn racism and show support for the Black Lives Matter cause have been asking “What can I do?”
First, it is important that we do not tell ourselves that this problem exists only in the USA. As a colonising nation Britain has a deeply problematic track record with race relations, which is far from over, as evidenced by the recent Windrush scandal, ongoing police brutality and racism, racialised unequal COVID19 health outcomes, including the condemnable deaths of Belly Mujinga and Trevor Belle, Black British essential workers, both of whom were assaulted at work and later died of COVID19. We should recognise that the legacy of colonialism, including structural and interpersonal racism (overt and covert), anti-Blackness, shadeism and colourism, lives on across Europe and worldwide.
Second, we can call attention to the issue. In particular, we believe it is the role of white people, and those whose racial backgrounds put them in closer proximity to whiteness, to use their relative privilege and safety to amplify Black voices and advocate for change. The ability to ignore this issue and believe it does not concern you is one way that structural racism is perpetuated. In response to this moment, it is not enough to be “not racist”. We must be “anti-racist”.
Third, we can acknowledge and understand the history that has made it necessary to demand in this moment that Black lives do matter. Racial inequality in the world today is the outcome of historical processes, producing structural racism benefiting white people, while othering and discriminating against those who are not white.
Finally, we can recognise that many Black colleagues and students, and those of mixed Black heritage are currently experiencing trauma, anger and exhaustion, as a result of the combination of everyday racism, the disproportionate health impacts of COVID19 on communities of colour, and the heightened racialised violence, pressure and anxiety of this moment. The LUCU committee extends to them our care and concern, and we urge supervisors and peers to please be mindful of and compassionate to these circumstances.
We welcome the articulate response from Loughborough University and its commitment to recognise its part in the problem and dedication to being part of the solution, as well as the Vice-Chancellor’s recent statement in which he centres the importance of challenging racism, and positioning the university as anti-racist. LUCU are also committed to (1) working closely with the BME staff network to address issues of racism within the union, and (2) continuing to engage with university management to improve staff experiences in a way that is cognizant of the specific issues faced by Black staff, staff of colour and minority backgrounds. In addition to anti-Black racism, we also wish to speak out against the everyday Sinophobic and Islamophobic racism against Asian and Muslim colleagues and students on campus and in Loughborough, which has increased due to COVID19, and the ongoing challenges of the hostile environment for immigration that affects our international colleagues.
We invite all members of our University community, but particularly those who are white, to respond to this opportunity to listen, learn and take action. Below we provide a range of suggestions, some which can be done for free in seconds, others which ask you to invest some money or time. While some of the resources were developed in the US, this does not mean they are irrelevant to us in the UK.
- Sign and share petitions
- US Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor (no arrests or charges have yet been made in her death) and Tony McDade
- UK Justice for Belly Mujinga
- Make donations and encourage others to donate, for example, to emergency bail funds to help protestors who are arrested; to the families of Breonna Taylor, Belly Mujinga and Trevor Belle, UK anti-racism charities or Black mental health services
- For white colleagues:
- Do not ignore, but please stop circulating graphic images of violence against Black people. The images have served their purpose of raising awareness and are now triggering collective trauma. We encourage you to take 5 minutes to read this thread by disaster management expert Dr Addy Adelaine about ways you can avoid causing more harm in this situation.
- Do not reach out to ‘check on’ Black people with whom you do not already have ongoing, close relationships. This is unhelpful and can ask more labour of them. If you want to helpfully check on Black family or friends, this thread may help.
- Listen to Black and people of colour (but don’t make them do the work for you). Listen to those in your life and those responding to the situation in the media. Listening means de-centring yourself, your feelings and your own experiences. Take on board what people are saying and accept their accounts and analyses of their lived experiences, without interrupting, interrogating, casting doubt, or offering criticism – even if this is intended to be helpful. Do not make this moment about you.
- For Asian colleagues and those of other ethnic minorities: learn about the UK’s complex history of political Blackness. Use the resources below to help you examine your privileges and relationship to whiteness, including complicity and participation in anti-Blackness, and work to challenge anti-Blackness in yourself, your families and wider communities.
- Read a book, and/or organise a discussion or reading group:
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge discusses hidden histories and why Black people do not owe white people patience and education. It is particularly useful if you want to learn more about racism in the UK. There is a summary piece available for free from The Guardian.
- How to Argue With a Racist by Adam Rutherford is a short accessible and entertaining book that will dismantle much of what you thought you knew about the biology and genetics of race. (Spoiler: there are no discernible categories of race, and there is greater genetic diversity within each racial group itself than between groups).
- Superior by Angela Saini documents the worrying re-emergence of race science and its links to the political rise of the far right in the 21st century.
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad is a more action-oriented workbook option for those who want to take steps to reduce their complicity in racist structures.
- Learn to unlearn: Understand and accept that we live within racist structures, and to encourage equality we must be anti-racist. Those who have benefited most from these structures have both the most power and responsibility to instigate change; this is a reality which may be uncomfortable and can make white people feel particularly defensive. Crucially, explore the ways in which racism has affected all of us; reflect on ways you may unthinkingly perpetuate racism, anti-Blackness, or internalised oppression and resolve to change in the future. Becoming anti-racist is a life-long process of unlearning and we all have work to do. Find out what types of habits you should unlearn.
- Follow Black activists on social media and take their advice on how to be a good ally. This starts with understanding an ally is not a status or self-designated title.
- Use the wealth of online learning resources which exist. Find out more about Race Matters at Loughborough University, check out the intro to this course in Critical Race Theory, read articles on understanding white privilege, or those that place the UK/US issues in an international context of anti-Blackness, e.g. in Australia, Netherlands, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Haiti. This article offers many more examples.
- Report incidents of racism to security in emergencies, the University Race Equality Champions, or the UCU committee. Students can report incidents online at this page.
- Find other Anti-Racism resources that can take you further than this list.
Resources for teaching staff
Educators have a special role to play in tackling racism in the curriculum, in the classroom, and in the student experience as a whole. These resources will support you in doing this.
- Yes! Magazine: Starting conversations about anti-Black racism
- Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Education Webinar
- Building the Anti-Racist Classroom blog article; recommended reading list; Student Journey Game
- The Teacherist: blog articles on anti-racist practice in the day to day classroom to dismantling an ethnocentric curriculum on a national and global scale. Developed by @MrPranPatel on Twitter
Resources for Black/BME Colleagues
- LU Staff Counselling (available to all staff)
- Employee Assistance Programme (available to all staff)
Thank you to the individual members of the BME, International, and LGBT staff networks, many of whom are UCU members, who co-developed this statement on our behalf. Thank you also to all the Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and white ally thinkers, activists and content creators whose excellent work we draw upon here.
Anti-Trump and Stand Up to Racism Events
There are two political protest events coming up which have wide support from the Trades Union movement including UCU.
The first is on Friday the 13th of July to oppose Donald Trump’s visit.
The second is to oppose racist and fascist groups, with a focus on Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, a former leader of the EDL with links to other vile organisations such as Pegida and the so-called “Football Lads Alliance”. A man even Piers Morgan has condemned as a “a bigoted lunatic”. Since his imprisonment in May “Free Tommy Robinson” has become a rallying cry of the far right.
The Anti-Trump Protest is on Friday 13 July 2pm Portland Place, London W1A 1AA followed by a rally at 5pm in Trafalgar Square. Please be there to show Trump he is not welcome and that we in the UK trade union movement oppose his divisive and racist policies.
The Stand Up to Racism ‘Oppose the Nazis and Tommy Robinson’ event is on Saturday 14 July 2pm Whitehall, London SW1A. It is vital we mobilise against the pernicious ideology peddled by Tommy Robinson and his friends in the so-called Football Lads Alliance.
Further details on the Stand Up To Racism Facebook page.