ModernityBlog

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Passive Racism And UCU.

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The University and College Union should be in the vanguard of dealing with racism within Higher Education in Britain, yet its own institutionalised racism and unhealthy preoccupation with boycotting Israelis seems to detract from that very necessary task.

Only recently did the UCU NEC try to redefine anti-Jewish racism as a method of extricating itself from the many problems brought about by its own actions.

The Guardian reports on passive racism within Higher Education:

“The HESA figures show black British professors make up just 0.4% of all British professors – 50 out of 14,385.

This is despite the fact that 2.8% of the population of England and Wales is Black African or Black Caribbean, according to the Office for National Statistics. Only 10 of the 50 black British professors are women.

The figures reflect professors in post in December 2009. When black professors from overseas were included, the figure rose to 75. This is still 0.4%of all 17,375 professors at UK universities. The six universities with more than two black professors from the UK or overseas include London Metropolitan, Nottingham, and Brunel universities. Some 94.3% of British professors are white, and 3.7% are Asian. Some 1.2% of all academics – not just professors – are black. There are no black vice-chancellorsin the UK.

Harry Goulbourne, professor of sociology at London South Bank University, said that while the crude racism of the past had gone, universities were riddled with “passive racism”. He said that, as a black man aspiring to be a professor, he had had to publish twice as many academic papers as his white peers. He said he had switched out of the field of politics, because it was not one that promoted minorities. He called for a “cultural shift” inside the most prestigious universities.

Mirza said UK universities were “nepotistic and cliquey”. “It is all about who you know,” she said. “

Update 1: I wonder if the topic will be discussed at the UCU Congress 2011 currently going on? I suppose so, now the Guardian has mentioned it.

Update 2: From what I can see, the motion from UCU NEC’s abdicating on anti-Jewish racism will take place at the UCU Congress 2011 on Monday 30 May, between 14:45-16.45, under the Business of the equality committee. Not sure that is 100%, as times can often change at Union congresses as business is shifted around, if anyone hears more please let me know.

Update 3: The UCU Congress can be followed live on Twitter via UCU’s web site.

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