Support colleagues fighting back in FE!

Members in HE: please use your vote!

Sean Wallis (University College London)

Election address

I am a principal research fellow at UCL. I have been a researcher in artificial intelligence and linguistics for 28 years: 6 in Nottingham and 22 at UCL.

Recent service

2013-presentBranch president, UCL UCU (currently VP)
2008-2015HE secretary, London Region UCU
2013-Member of NEC

I am a member of UCU Left.


I am asking you to vote for me because I have spent my career speaking up for research staff in Higher Education. I am very concerned about the future of the University.

Every time I stood for national election, I argued the same point:

The basic idea of a University is under attack from a Government and a political class who fear a critical, independently-minded, University-educated populace. We need to respond by mobilising our own members: both in their own immediate interests, over pay and conditions, and in a wider defence of the University ideal.

In 2016 I turned these words into action. I was instrumental in co-ordinating the Second and Third Conventions for Higher Education, and I was an editor of the Alternative White Paper for HE.  See

We launched the Alternative White Paper in Parliament and encouraged meetings across the UK. The campaign united UCU with the Council for the Defence of British Universities and the Campaign for the Public University. It put our union at the heart of a grassroots debate about the future of HE, the defence of Academic Freedom and the rights of staff and students.

In the 'old' universities we are in the fight of our lives to defend our pensions. We must organise: to persuade members to vote, and vote yes; to build the strikes; and to prepare for an examination-marking boycott.

We need action committees in every university to bring together experienced branch activists and new angry members. Everyone can play their part.

At the same time we must all stand up for international staff, from EU and beyond, during Brexit. How can you defend your pension if you are thrown out of the UK? We need to unite to defend our colleagues, our jobs, our pensions.

We are also defending our students and the future of Higher Education. Our employers are spending a lower proportion of their budget on pay and pensions than ever before. It is time to redress the balance.

We should never forget: Universities are critically important for a democratic, educated society. Defending education means reversing Government cuts and dismantling fees. It means standing up ourselves, fighting for our own pensions and pay.

I am a hard-working branch vice president and a defender of research staff. Vote for me for a union that represents you and fights for you.

Last updated: 1 February 2018