Article
31 May 2011 at 1pm

Campaigners brand University and College Union 'institutionally racist'

ukraine_anti_semiticThe University College Union recently voted against recognising the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia's working definition on anti-Semitism. They claim it detracts from open discussion about Israel. However, campaigners have come out strongly against the move and reputable journalists, students and community leaders alike have condemned the union for its behaviour.

The working definition asserts that Jews have a right to self-determination. The UCU seemingly does not believe this to be true and has even been confronted by confusion from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.  Sir Trevor Philips, the head of the aforementioned organisation has stated that he was surprised the lecturers' union had not consulted him before taking action on the issue.

Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council said: "After today's events I believe the UCU is institutionally racist."

Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council said: "After today's events I believe the UCU is institutionally racist." One delegate at the UCU conference, Ronnie Fraser, expressed his dismay at the motion: "Congress, Imagine how it feels when you say that you are experiencing racism, and your union responds: stop lying, stop trying to play the antisemitism card." Student Rights expresses concern about the level of political activity focused on Israel within the University College Union. This kind of obsession can detract from serving the general membership of the union and ensuring that academic voices are heard. Furthermore, it is worthwhile noting that many other unions, including the National Union of Students recognise the EUMC working definition and Sir William MacPherson's recommendations in tackling racism. The UCU appears to be falling foul in both regards.