QMUCU 2020 AGM Motions Passed

At a well-attended virtual AGM on 22 June QMUCU members passed a quartet of motions whilst also approving the election of a new branch committee, including office-holders for four new positions:

  • Migrant / Tier 4 Visa Rep
  • PGR Rep
  • Student Liaison Rep
  • Social Media Office

The membership of the new committee can be seen here. We are still on the look out for volunteers to hold currently vacant positions so please do get in touch with someone on the committee if you would be interested in joining us at this vital time for our branch.

The following motions were passed at the meeting.

Motion on Local Branch Subscription Increase

The branch recognises that:

  • The past year has involved considerably more branch work dealing with management on a whole range of issues.
  • The coming year will likely involve more of these types of interaction with QM.
  • Members require more support from the branch to organise effective local campaigns.
  • Support from our branch administrators and organisers, who are employed by UCU but funded by the branch. This has been, and will continue to be essential in enabling the work of the branch, especially in the critical months ahead.

Current branch subscriptions will mean that the level of support must decrease rather than increase.

The branch therefore resolves:

  • to raise branch subscriptions by £1 per month for members earning over £30000 pa
  • to raise branch subscriptions by £1.50 per month for members earning over £40000
  • to raise branch subscriptions by £2.00 per month for members earning over £60000

The pay bands are UCU salary band structures for subscriptions.

Notes: With current membership profiles, this would increase branch income by £11682.

Currently, the branch subscriptions is/will be:

SalaryCurrentProposed
£60,000 & above£3.00£5.00
£40,000 – £59,999£2.50£4.00
£30,000 – £39,999£2.00£3.00
£20,000 – £29,999£2.00unchanged
£15,000 – £19,999£1.50unchanged
£5,000 – £14,999£1.50unchanged
Below £5,000£1.50unchanged

Motion on Support for QMSU

The branch recognises :

  • The effort of the QMSU to redress racial injustice and to tackle institutional racism at QMUL.
  • The difficulties they have faced in their fights towards these causes in the wake of Sandra Brown’s resignation letter and the ongoing Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, the latest wave of which was sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
  • The success of the SU’s #QMFurloughNow campaign in mobilising the support of the student community at QMUL and important leaders within the community beyond, including local MPs and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
  • The intransigence of senior management during the SU campaign to secure funding for student workers through the government’s furlough scheme. QMUL management’s decision not to allow the SU to use the scheme cost QMSU £50,000 and means that some of its staff are up to £500 a month worse off.
  • The QMSU council’s vote of no confidence in the President and Principal Colin Bailey.
  • The amazing support the QMSU has offered QMUCU throughout the year, especially during the two periods of strike during autumn last year and early this year.

The branch therefore resolves:

  • To continue to work closely with students and the SU both privately and publicly to reclaim the university and try to build a better Queen Mary.
  • To work with students and the SU to tackle institutional racism.
  • To support the continuation of the #QMFurloughNow campaign in whatever guise it assumes in its subsequent phases.

Motion on Rhodes Must Fall

In response to the recent resurgence of the ‘Rhodes Must Fall Oxford’ campaign, QMUL UCU notes the following:

– Since late 2015, the Rhodes Must Fall Oxford (RMFO) campaign, inspired by Rhodes Must Fall in South Africa, has demanded the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes outside Oriel College, Oxford.

– On 4 November, 2015, RMFO stated that it sees the Rhodes statue as ‘a veneration not only of the crimes of the man himself, but of the racist imperial legacy on which Oxford University has thrived, as well as a metaphor for the racism BME individuals continue to experience at Oxford.’ [1]

– Despite numerous petitions, protests, appeals, etc., the governing body of Oriel College originally decided not to remove the statue;

– According to media reports, this decision was taken after Oriel College faced a backlash from anonymous donors who wished to retain the statue, [2]

– Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, renewed scrutiny has been placed worldwide on statuary representations of racism, colonialism, and White supremacy; and this has reinvigorated the RMFO campaign, as seen in a large demonstration held in Oxford on 9 June, 2020;

– That this week, on June 17, 2020, the governing body of Oriel College finally took a decision to set up an inquiry into the Rhodes Statue and the issues surrounding it.

In light of the above, QMUL UCU contends:

– That the enduring presence of the statue of Cecil Rhodes outside Oriel College, Oxford, is a powerful representation of the refusal to take account of the colonial dispossession, premised upon ideologies of race and racism, that partly funded UK higher education institutions;

– That Oriel College’s decision to prioritise the views of its anonymous and unaccountable funders over those of RMFO was a regrettable decision, which provides further evidence for systemic and deeply-rooted bias, discrimination and racism within UK higher education,

– That in the context of the recent flourishing of movements and protests in the United States seeking to advance the cause of Black liberation in light of highly publicised incidents of police violence, it is incumbent on us to address the interlinked symbolic and material manifestations of racism within our own institutions; and that we cannot stay silent or neutral at this time;

– The intellectual life of Oriel depends in good part on the goodwill, collegiality and commitment of others in Oxford and beyond. If the College acts in ways that undermines UCU’s commitment to building anti-racist working environments [3], the UK higher education community should no longer feel bound to continue the collegial, discretionary labour that sustains Oriel’s teaching and research.

– That the decision this week of Oriel College to set up an inquiry into the Rhodes Statue and the issues surrounding it is welcome, but must not be allowed to delay the removal of the statue or further action taken in line with the aims of RMFO; and notes further that inquiries have previously been used as a tactic to delay granting the demands of social movements.

QMUL UCU decides, therefore:

– To call on the UCU Higher Education Committee to issue a statement in support of RMFO that welcomes Oriel’s decision to re-examine the presence of the Rhodes statue, strongly encourages the college to commit to the speedy removal of the statue, and encourages the University of Oxford as a whole to engage substantively, in good faith and with requisite speed to the demands of the RMFO movement and the broader issues it raises.

– To call on the UCU Higher Education Committee to issue a statement recognising that colonialism and enslavement have historically contributed to the wealth of the UK higher education system; that this fact and its implications has for too long been ignored; and committing to a process of addressing these questions in good faith and exploring routes towards reparations.

[1] https://rmfoxford.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/041115rmfpressrelease1.pdf

[2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/12128151/Cecil-Rhodes-statue-to-remain-at-Oxford-University-after-alumni-threatens-to-withdraw-millions.html

[3] https://www.ucu.org.uk/action-against-workplace-racism

Emergency Motion Regarding Institutional Racism

The branch notes the recent motion discussed at UCU NEC regarding institutional racism in British universities, which was unfortunately remitted.

The branch resolves to:

  • Endorse this motion and call on the UCU NEC to pass this motion as soon as possible.
  • Examine the implications of the motion for the work of QMUCU in tackling institutional racism at Queen Mary, including within union structures.
  • To report back to the next branch meeting with a concrete action plan for improving local branch work and campaigning on this issue.

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