Boycott Leicester

Covid-19 (coronavirus): UCU has produced advice for members. Find more information and updates here.

Chloé Vitry (Lancaster University)

Election address

I am writing this address after days of picketing on our most recent wave of strike where I have heard countless stories of precarity both in person and online. I was lucky to be born in France, where Higher Education is still heavily subsidised and recognised as a public good, although substantially eroded by government austerity. I arrived in the UK in 2015 to start a postdoc, where I quickly learned the damage that transforming universities into competitive businesses could do to staff, students and our relationships. I have seen how calls for inclusion and diversity are seized as marketing tools while real institutional responses to bullying, racism and discrimination are still lacking.  But I believe that this project of higher education as a radical tool for liberation from a racist neoliberal project is worth fighting for.

I joined UCU in 2017 when I was employed on a 1-year, 0.5 FTE contract at the University of Leicester. The branch activism, solidarity and energy that I found quickly convinced me to get involved. I became part of the strike committee in 2018, helped with social media and communications, and had a crash course in the functioning and governance of the union. Shortly after, after 3 moves in 4 years to pursue fixed term contracts, I finally obtained a full-time, open-ended position in Lancaster University, as Senior Teaching Associate in Organisation Studies, where I offered to become departmental rep, because I wanted to continue to be part of grassroot activism in the union.

I am standing for a UK-elected seat as an unaffiliated candidate because I want to further contribute to the increase of grassroot participation in the union, as well as support my precarious colleagues now that I have gained some stability. In addition to this, I aim to the following:

  • Helping fight for the continued efforts in increasing transparency and democracy in the union. As part of this I pledge to make my voting decisions public.
  • A commitment to anti-racism, both for myself and for the union. This includes fighting the hostile environment which treats some humans as 'less than', resisting the transformation of our roles into border agents, as well as holding each-other accountable to greater efforts to fight racism in HE.
  • Standing up for trans and non-binary staff and students amidst the attacks they suffer both within and outside academia.

I have witnessed incredible solidarity during the strikes. I believe this solidarity is at its strongest when all members of the union have a voice in it, and understand the decisions made in the various bodies of the union. I support Sarah King, Chris O'Donnell, Mark Pendelton and Leon Rocha for the other UK-elected HE seats.

Last updated: 30 January 2020