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Campaign update: 15 July 2016


UCU says scrap higher education bill and focus on impact of BREXIT

Writing in the Guardian, Sally Hunt, said the government had to scrap the Higher Education and Research Bill, scheduled for a second reading in Parliament next week. She said the implications of the Brexit vote on universities should have already been enough to halt proceedings.
Writing in Times Higher Education earlier this week, Sally Hunt also set out four things that the government needs to do now including: protecting EU staff and students; replacing lost EU funding; an urgent inquiry into how best to protect HE post BREXIT; and an end to the scapegoating of immigrants by politicians.
The HE bill was conceived in a pre-Brexit world and, whatever its merits or otherwise, its significance for higher education is dwarfed by the implications of the UK leaving the EU. Now the universities and skills brief has been moved into a different government department it is time to put the bill to one side.' Write to your MP to outline your concerns about the bill ahead of Tuesday's debate.

UCU responds to Ofsted report on the Prevent duty in further education

UCU said on Tuesday that vague definitions and inconsistent advice have made it hard for colleges to understand the government's controversial anti-extremism guidance and protect open discussion and academic freedom.  The union was responding to a report from Ofsted that criticised colleges' efforts in implementing the duty, saying many saw it simply as a tick-box exercise. Responding to the report Sally Hunt said: 'UCU has consistently warned that the Prevent duty risks doing more harm than good by shutting down debate on contentious topics and creating mistrust between teachers and students. College teachers have always taken their duty of care to students very seriously, so the focus on implementing the Prevent duty is both unnecessary and potentially counterproductive. She told the BBC that the government's 'vague definitions of British values and local authorities' inconsistent advice have offered little help to providers struggling to understand the duty while still protecting open discussion and academic freedom.'

London Metropolitan University

There will be a national demonstration on Saturday 23rd July to protest against the 395 job cuts announced in May and to fight for the reinstatement of victimised reps Mark Campbell and David Hardman. Please gather at 11.30 by the Tower Building on Holloway Road N7 for a march to Highbury Fields at midday. The nearest tube stations are Holloway Road and Highbury & Islington (London overground rail also stops here). You can also support Mark and David by joining the Thunderclap social media campaign.

Other news this week

In the news

  • UCU calls for Higher Education Bill to be scrapped
  • Four things that must happen to protect higher education after Brexit
  • Why the government's anti-extremism drive is failing in colleges
  • Strikes from the south-west to the north-east

Read all about it here

'No To Racism - No To Austerity' demonstration, Saturday 16 July

A reminder of this important demonstration against austerity and racism in the wake of the EU referendum, which takes place in London tomorrow. The UCU meeting point is the corner of Portland Place and Dutchess Street at 12:00. All welcome - please encourage friends and colleagues to attend.

Last updated: 1 April 2019