Vote was manipulated

June 8, 2007

If evidence were needed to show that this anti-academic absurdity was motivated by racism, UCU members should ask the old question: did the union fall or was it pushed? The "arrangements" for the relevant events at the UCU congress could be seen as just incompetence on the part of those charged with setting the congress agenda - but the evidence piles in favour of gross manipulation.

Why, for example, did the organising committee permit an obvious wrecking motion to stand as a set of proposed "amendments" to the Canterbury Christ Church University motion, which called for members to be balloted before any boycott could be applied?

Christ Church withdrew its motion for fear of offering the pro-boycotters even more strength if the amendments were approved. Why, again, was a motion condemning the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK opposed by the union's organising committee, with the motion being withdrawn as it was about to be discussed?

Why, yet again, was the boycott proposal put on the general congress agenda rather than on the higher education agenda (the sector affected by the proposal)? This decision could have accounted for more than 80 illegitimate votes for the boycott from delegates from further education (the boycott proposal was won on fewer than 60 votes).

In favour of folly was the spectacle of the congress dissolving into complete disarray before the end of business because the organisers had placed the only business requiring a clear quorum - changing the union rulebook - until the last afternoon, when many delegates had already headed for home.

A charge of discrimination is appropriate when someone fails, obviously, to treat similar cases in similar ways.

Israel is far from being the only country to be actively engaged in occupying territories - Britain and the US might even be candidates.

It is, at least, odd and uncomfortable that the UCU should seek to apply the leverage of boycott only to Israel. Members should demand an independent inquiry of events, followed, almost certainly, by a recall of congress.

Andrew Morgan
President, Swansea University UCU, UCU NEC (Elect)

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