Not by bread alone

November 10, 2011

If last week's editorial meant to reaffirm the centrality of bread-and-butter issues in the University and College Union's remit, I would second it ("Bread, not political poses", 3 November). However, if it meant to assert that UCU members should not express an interest in developments beyond the UK, then I would disagree.

Political motions at the union's annual congress have been endorsed by an overwhelming majority of delegates because they recognise that support for trade unionists in Colombia, gay men in Uganda and Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza is neither gratuitous nor posturing. Indeed, this solidarity figures prominently in what the UCU rightly stands for.

Yes, it is self-evident that pay, jobs, workloads, pensions and numerous professional issues represent the union's priorities. But as educators, one would expect UCU members to lead by example. Students in my politics lectures and seminars, for example, are sensitised to the meaning of democracy and human rights.

I am proud that my union takes principled positions on issues that cannot be described as "bread and butter" but nevertheless help to define the UCU's remit.

Ronald Mendel, Senior lecturer in sociology and politics, University of Northampton

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride