Birmingham UCU has taken the unprecedented step of writing to the LGBT charity Stonewall to seek clarification over the degree to which they have validated the University of Birmingham’s approach to equalities on the Dubai Campus.
Faced with serious criticism from staff, students and politicians over its Dubai plans, the University has frequently referred to the advice it receives from Stonewall and its supposed adoption of an ’embassy model’ of equality and diversity as evidence that the Dubai campus is consistent with Birmingham’s stated values. At the 2018 Vice-Chancellor’s Question Time, Sir David Eastwood even went as far as to say: “[Stonewall] strongly encouraged us to go into Dubai”.
Birmingham UCU seeks clarification on the following points:
- Does Stonewall provide equalities validation outside of LGBTQ+?
- Did Stonewall ‘strongly encourage’ the University of Birmingham to go into Dubai?
- Does the University’s campus in Dubai meet the requirements of an ‘Embassy model’?
- Is the University’s documentation as clear as you would expect on LGBTQ+ issues in Dubai?
- Is it acceptable for advertised vacancies at the University of Birmingham to require staff to ‘want’ to go to Dubai given the likely discrimination against LGBTQ+?
To date, Stonewall have acknowledged receipt of the letter but have yet to formally respond to Birmingham UCU’s questions.