In the light of the publication of the Redbrick article, Leaked Messages Undermine UCU Apology, we would like to make clear the following.
Through a period of discussion we each agreed entirely with our statement on racism within our branch that was published on 10 June. This statement sought to take seriously the issues that had been directly raised by the Guild President, as well as the wider problems of racism throughout society that are being currently highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.
We are seeking to find ways to respond to the issues raised and to find ways to make improvements. We openly acknowledge that mistakes may have been made during that process. We accept that we could have done, and will do, more to advance anti-racist principles.
We have agreed to conduct an investigation, led by our Regional Office, to investigate all comments and actions made by Committee members and ex-members.
In the light of these events and the period of reflection that they have prompted, both for the branch committee and for the branch membership as a whole, the University of Birmingham branch of UCU have agreed to undertake the following actions in the coming days and weeks. Each of these are focused around our collective goal of building a more inclusive and representative union branch which can effectively challenge racism both within and outside of our trade union, to which we are entirely committed:
- To create a branch anti-racist officer;
- To survey our members and raise awareness of racism/discrimination in a way that is focused on educating white members of the branch;
- To set up a working group that will look into summarising our branch thoughts on the issue of racism and the events highlighted over the past two weeks, and to adopt a proposal for next steps that we should take;
- To engage more directly with our Black members and Black members of the University of Birmingham, and to try to raise the visibility of their concerns;
- To make a conscious effort to ensure that Black voices are heard within our trade union;
- To recognise the challenges that face Black members of the University and which make it more difficult for them to raise their voices and that the challenges that they face are greater than those of non-Black members of the University;
- To adopt racial-bias training for our members and union representatives/officers;
- To seek to improve our connections with groups representing staff and students across the University.
See also here for a response to BULS’ letter on this issue.