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academic freedom

Members call for more job security for hourly paid staff

A well attended members’ meeting on 25th February agreed to lodge a formal reference with our employer over its use of casual contracts.  The University of Bath was revealed as one of the country’s heaviest users of casual contracts for teaching and research, and despite an undertaking last October from the Vice Chancellor last to reduce its dependence on casual contracts we have seen no movement.

Our growing number of members who are hourly paid are looking for support from those on more secure contracts to win some improvements, and the branch has put its weight behind them.

The meeting also called on University managers to:

  • modify the University’s disproportionate’ response to the Prevent legislation
  • honour its 2007 agreement with UCU that staff on Grade 6 should progress to Grade 7
  • improve access for those with sensory and mobility impairments trying to get from the bus terminus to the Parade

Full report of this members’ meeting

The Prevent Duty: a threat to academic freedom and civil liberties

UCU National President Liz Lawrence leads an open discussion of the Government’s new ‘Prevent Duty’ on Monday 16th November 1.15 pm in 5W2.1.

Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 contains a duty on specified authorities, including universities, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This duty is usually referred to as “Prevent Duty’’. UCU is opposed to the government imposed Prevent Duty as a matter of principle for many reasons. For example, the Prevent duty seriously threatens academic freedom and freedom of expression, it puts pressure on UCU members to spy on their students and the broad and vague definition of terrorism adopted in the Act will stifle open political debate and legitimate political dissent on campus.* (more…)

Management want more control of recording of lectures

UCU members have expressed support for the existing policy on the recording of lectures and other teaching sessions. Currently staff make decisions about what is and is not recorded, and many make use of the facility. But now senior managers are saying that they want to record everything unless we sign a form saying we don’t want them to. Branch officers have referred the matter to UCU’s legal department.

The cost of knowledge – campaign for open access publishing

Academics have protested against Elsevier’s business practices for years with little effect. These are some of their objections:  read more