Thursday 2 May 2019, 1pm – 2pm
Roger Stevens lecture theatre 4 (8.04)
1. Minutes of General Meeting on Tuesday 16 April 2019
2. Amendments to motions on the UCU congress agenda
2.1 Amendment to EQ17 Gender Identity after the 2018 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) consultation
Line 3: At the end of the first sentence add ‘and modern evidence indicates that neither are binary’.
At the end of the last sentence add ‘and formal recognition of non-binary status for data gathering purposes.’
2.2 Amendment to EQ 18 Respectful dialogue on gender/gender diversity
i. in Congress notes 1, delete from ‘potentially … practices’, add after ‘have’; ‘the potential to significantly improve trans people’s lives’.
ii. in 3. insert ‘trans and other’ between ‘feminist’ and ‘scholars’.
iii.In Congress believes a. add after ‘equality’: ‘under the Equality Act 2010 and other legislation, and supports proposed changes to the 2004 GRA.’
iv. in Congress believes c. delete ‘potential conflicts of’, insert ‘the’ before ‘rights’, and insert ‘of oppressed groups’ after ‘rights’.
v. In ‘Congress calls on UCU to ii; add ‘and trans people’ after ‘academics’.
vi. In final sentence, add ‘underpinned by solidarity with all oppressed groups and promote unity in action of women and trans people in the face of attacks on either group.’
2.3 Amendment to HE7 UCU must remain open to a legal challenge against USS
Add at end:
1. UCU must do work with aligned groups in pursuit of defending our pensions wherever possible
2. To draw up a full report on legal options open to UCU, via meaningful consultation with Academics for Pension Justice (and associated legal advisors), NDC and SWG.
3. This report will make recommendations which will inform HEC’s consideration regarding next steps in pursuit of any possible legal challenges over the actions of USS.
3. Emergency motions to UCU Congress
4. UCU Congress business
No further items raised.
5. Non-Congress business
5.1 Motion: Climate emergency
This branch notes:
- That the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming shows that in order to avoid catastrophic climate change we must drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2030.
- That there is a growing international movement of youth strikes demanding urgent action on climate change.
- That Leeds City Council, along with many other local authorities, has declared a Climate Emergency and has committed to make Leeds carbon neutral by 2030.
- That a petition has been submitted to the Vice Chancellor by students and staff calling on the University to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ and take urgent action to help avert climate breakdown.
This branch welcomes:
- The participation of our students in the youth climate strikes at Leeds.
- The actions of climate scientists from the Priestley Centre in running ‘Ask A Climate Scientist’ stalls at the youth climate strikes in Leeds and online.
- The work of researchers at this University making a substantial contribution to sustainability, renewable energy development, and ensuring a just transition to a more sustainable future.
- The University’s pledge to become single-use plastic-free by 2023.
This branch resolves:
- To write to the Vice Chancellor supporting the petition from staff and students to declare a Climate Emergency at the University of Leeds (signed by 1000 people), and in particular the call to work with staff and students to develop a Climate Emergency Plan to reduce the University’s carbon emissions and environmental footprint in line with a 1.5°C target.
- To publicise the youth climate strikes to members and urge them to support these in any way they can.
- To make a donation of £100 to the Extinction Rebellion Leeds, to assist student participation in these events.
5.2 Motion: Fossil Fuel Divestment
This branch notes:
- The IPCC report (October 2018) on anthropogenic global climate change outlines the significantly intensified harm likely to result from a 2°C vs 1.5°C rise above mid-19th century levels, and that global CO2 emissions need to fall by 45% by 2030 in order to stay within 1.5 degrees. See https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
- That student/staff campaigns have helped push over 70 UK universities to pledge to divest from fossil fuels.
- That in response to a student campaign in 2015/16, the Council of the University of Leeds rejected a proposal that the University divest itself of direct share-holdings in fossil fuel companies (see https://www.leeds.ac.uk/forstaff/news/article/5170/council_statement_decision_on_fossil_fuel_divestment)
This branch believes:
- That it is imperative that further fossil fuels reserves stay in the ground.
- That investing in fossil fuel exploration and exploitation is unethical and incompatible with the University’s commitment to socially responsible investment (https://www.leeds.ac.uk/secretariat/documents/socially_responsible_investment.pdf)
- That the University should instead invest in renewable energy and other initiatives and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the use of fossil fuels.
This branch resolves:
- To write to the University Council proposing the University should now commit to fossil fuel divestment.
- To campaign jointly with student groups on this issue.
5.3 Motion: Endorsing Jo McNeill as UCU general secretary candidate
Leeds UCU Branch endorses Jo McNeill in the 2019 UCU General Secretary election.
Proposed amendment 1: add “and recommends a vote for Jo Grady as second preference.”
Proposed amendment 2: add “endorses both Jo McNeill and Jo Grady”.
Motion now reads:
Leeds UCU Branch endorses both Jo McNeill and Jo Grady in the 2019 UCU General Secretary election.
5.4 Motion: Ariel university
Leeds UCU notes that Israeli settlements in occupied territory constitute a breach of international law, as is affirmed by (among many others) the British Government, the United Nations (Security Council and General Assembly), the International Court of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention.
Leeds UCU notes therefore that, because Ariel University is built in a settlement, for the University of Leeds to recognise degrees from Ariel University, or to collaborate with Ariel University in any way, would be complicit in the breaking of international law.
5.5 Emergency motion: new process for appointing Heads of School
This meeting notes the introduction of a new institution-wide process for appointing Heads of School and that this process
- was introduced at short notice and without appropriate consultation across the institution as a whole
- requires the post to be externally advertised, even when the School has internal candidates willing to take up the role and who have been approved by their colleagues;
- undermines collegiality and democracy within a School
- may over-ride School constitutions that require such appointments to be made in consultation with members of the School
- may have significant budgetary implications
This meeting resolves to ask University management to
- withdraw the current imposed and unnecessary process
- initiate discussions with UCU and other interested parties with a view to agreeing an appointment process that is fair, transparent and equality tested, that allows for internal appointments to proceed where agreed by members of the School concerned and that respects the collegial and democratic environments of individual Schools across the institution.