QMUCU statement of solidarity with Prof. Gargi Bhattacharyya, the other 11 staff members facing forced redundancies and all those threatened by UEL’s restructuring plans
QMUCU has grown increasingly alarmed at the events unfolding at the University of East London since last summer where Covid-19 has been used as a pretext to restructure and roll out voluntary and forced redundancies, with more than 400 colleagues’ jobs being threatened. Critical race and gender scholars (as well as UEL UCU officers) are at the centre of the redundancies, so these cuts also represent a serious attack on critical scholarship – part of a current trend among European, US and UK policy makers and university managers. This is starkly illustrated by the decision to make Prof. Gargi Bhattacharyya redundant.
Prof. Bhattacharya is one of the UK’s most important and influential scholars, whose career has been foundational to the full range of social science disciplines. She has not only done essential work on racial capitalism, social reproduction and critical theory, she has contributed endlessly to support the careers and intellectual projects of her peers, early career colleagues, students and mentees. She has been integral to the lives of so many of us developing anti-capitalist and anti-racist work, in both our academic and grassroots practices, including offering training to our own UCU community at Queen Mary, while facing redundancy. We are both angry and shocked that this is happening, especially since Prof. Bhattacharyya is one of 11 colleagues targeted for forced redundancy, amidst debilitating cuts aimed at UEL’s most critical programmes.
We urge UEL to rethink their drastic restructuring plans and consider the lasting effects this will have on their students, their reputation and the larger academic community, which value their critical scholarship and expertise.
Anti-racism workshop Fri 13 Nov, 1.30pm with Prof. Gargi Bhattacharyya: QMUCU will be holding a workshop with Prof. Gargi Bhattacharyya on Friday, 13th November at 1:30 pm, with Akanksha Mehta (Goldsmiths) and Chris Nicholas (UCU), to develop our capacity for anti-racist organising at QMUL. We can also use this time to be in solidarity with Prof. Bhattacharyya, to hear more about what’s happening around the sector and how to mobilise with our colleagues, through building our union as an anti-racist space.
For more details on what is happening at UEL and to get involved in the #SaveUEL campaign, please see this document.
And to register for the QMUL-UCU anti-racism training workshop, here’s the link:
QMUCU Anti-Racism Working Group