Dr Sola Kasim (University of Aberdeen)

Election address

Dear Colleagues,

I'm Sola Kasim, a Research Fellow within the Business School at the University of Aberdeen and am active within the Aberdeen UCU branch as Equality Officer. I'm seeking election to the office of UCU Scotland Equality Officer and soliciting, hereby, your support to realise the ambition.

If elected into office I shall work hard to lay or consolidate the foundations for an effective and sustainable workplace equality agenda and a better-connected network of the Equalities Officers in Scotland's Higher Education.  The cornerstones of the equalities agenda under my watch
will be:

(a)  The diminution of the "othering" phenomenon/tendency by creating as many opportunities as are possible to promote interactions/familiarity at all levels throughout the entire workforce, ensuring differing ideas, abilities, backgrounds and needs are fostered and valued, and where those with diverse backgrounds and experiences are able to participate and contribute. Just as othering is the bane of all equalities agenda, most people have first-hand experiences and would affirm how familiarity brings out the best in everyone and effortlessly breaks down all manner of socio-economic barriers, helping prevent discrimination.

(b)  Promoting, encouraging, or cajoling, as the situation may require, the widespread adoption of Equality Impact Assessment for all new projects in Scottish HE. Going forward, it is important that HE leaders and managers are encouraged to engage with UCU and groups promoting equality to carefully think through the potential impacts of all new initiatives/programmes by carrying out thorough equality impact assessments and taking the appropriate mitigating action, with agreement from stakeholders, against any disproportionate impact identified .

(c)  Networking: Under my watch, I shall seek to champion equality on behalf of all UCU members, organising regular events and activities including those which commemorate notable equalities landmarks and achievements at the national and international levels. To realise this goal, I shall strive to strengthen the network of Equalities Officers in ScottishHEs to, among others, pool resources and, together deliver for our members what might be difficult for one Branch to achieve on its own.

For example, as the Equality Officer of the Aberdeen UCU Branch, I am currently involved with other Equalities Officers in Scotland's HE in a cost-sharing arrangement to bring world-class experts on equalities to Scotland on a speaking round of participating universities.

We need more of such resource-pooling when negotiating equalities issues with the HE management.

Feedback from colleagues is that the initiatives I have championed have helped made a positive difference to equality at the University of Aberdeen, encouraging management to engage in challenging discussions including responding to the excellent UCU "Witness" materials.

Please give me your vote and the opportunity to implement them throughout Scotland.

Very many thanks in advance.

Best regards,

Sola

Last updated: 1 February 2018