Letter to UCU General Secretary on Profound Threats to Free Speech and Academic Freedom

The BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom has written to Dr Jo Grady, General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), regarding the profound threats to free speech and academic freedom that academics and students are facing since the outbreak of violence in Palestine and Israel on 7th October.

We are grateful for the assistance that many UCU reps across the country are already providing, and ask for assurance that any UCU member who is targeted with accusations, or whose free speech and academic freedom is restricted or impinged with regards to Palestine, will have the full support of the union, including the union providing and covering the cost of legal representation that they may require to defend their rights and careers.

A public statement from UCU confirming this support will help reassure staff in this difficult time. Such a statement would be in keeping with UCU's stated obligations of protecting and promoting the professional interests of its members, promoting equality, defending academic freedom, and actively opposing all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination.