UCU: to ballot or not to ballot... 2

July 6, 2007

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine branch of the University and College Union has conducted a survey of our members on a possible academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The survey yielded a response rate from branch members of 40.5 per cent, of whom 89 per cent agreed with the statement: "The London School of Hygiene believes that another full year of arguments about a potential boycott of Israeli academic institutions without a decision will be divisive and hence counter to the interests of the members of this union.

"We therefore call upon the NEC to ballot the full membership of the UCU on the issue of whether or not to instigate a boycott as quickly as practicable... We believe we must trust the membership to decide what they want their union to do, with all due speed. We hope other branches will support this call."

Pragmatically I believe an action - a boycott - that may destroy the credibility of this union, may bankrupt it and may not even succeed in what it is trying to accomplish, would be an empty gesture, and a dangerous one at that. We must find another way to support Palestinians.

I strongly encourage the NEC to take whatever action it determines will meet the requirements of this motion and adhere to the steps required by the union's international greylisting and boycott policy with all due urgency, and then call on all to vote on a possible boycott. I believe the ballot will say no to a boycott, but if I am wrong I will support the decision of the membership.

Dorothy Wright
UCU branch chair
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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