Birmingham UCU General Members Meeting 14/10/2021
[Resolution passed unanimously]
Reaffirming and protecting the rights of Trans and non-binary staff and students at the University of Birmingham
Birmingham UCU fully supports the UCU UK position on trans inclusion, published November 2019. Birmingham UCU is committed, in line with national UCU policy, to fighting both on and off campus to advance and defend the rights of trans and non–binary people.
It is concerned about the apparent inconsistency of approach by the University of Birmingham’s incoming Vice Chancellor to defending academic freedom during his time at the University of Sussex. We stand in solidarity with students and staff at the University of Sussex Students Union (USSU) and Sussex UCU, who are fighting to ensure both academic freedom and the rights of trans and non-binary people at the University are protected.
This Branch asserts that trans and non-binary staff and students must be welcome and safe at the University of Birmingham, and to ensure the incoming Vice Chancellor, the University, and Branch members, take action to ensure this is the case.
As such, this Branch notes that:
- The rights of trans and non-binary staff and students are protected by the Equality Act 2010.
- The University of Birmingham recognises gender identity as a facet of identity that shapes staff and students’ experience at the University in its 2021 – 2024 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme, and that it has produced guidance on supporting transgender staff and students. Its 2017 best practice guide to LGBTQ-inclusivity in the higher education curriculum acknowledges that LGBTQ+ students can face harmful discrimination in higher education on the basis of gender and sexual identity, and provides a pedagogical framework for inclusivity across all subject areas.
It asserts that:
- Academic freedom is essential to extending knowledge and fostering critical thinking. However, it does not give the right to discriminate against, bully or harass any person or group of people.
- The University of Birmingham must be a safe place for trans and non-binary staff and students to work and study.
- No person should face bullying, harassment, discrimination or violence of any kind in their workplace on the basis of their gender identity.
- Trans and non-binary employees must be supported to develop and progress in their careers at the University of Birmingham if they wish to.
It commits to:
- Continuing to provide case work and other support to all members, including where members face discrimination as a result of their gender identity.
- Where necessary, and in partnership with trans and non-binary staff, students and representative networks, challenging the University of Birmingham to improve its support for trans and non-binary staff.
- Making a public statement in support of the rights of trans and nonbinary colleagues.
It asks the University of Birmingham to:
- Publicly assert its commitment to the rights of trans and non-binary staff and students working and studying at the University.
- Go beyond current statements of recognition and guidance to establish a clear strategy for understanding and supporting the needs of trans and non-binary staff and students at the University of Birmingham.
- Ensure the incoming Vice Chancellor meets with trans and non-binary staff, students, representative networks and societies at the earliest opportunity to lay out his plans for supporting staff and students’ rights.