Motion on Academic freedom, complicity with UAE-Saudi war and famine in Yemen
Cambridge UCU AGM – 30 Nov 2018
This branch notes:
- The life sentence recently handed down to Durham PhD student Matthew Hedges by a court in UAE on charges of spying.
- That University of Birmingham UCU has passed a resolution calling on its members not to carry out voluntary duties for the UoB Dubai campus as a result of concerns over academic freedoms, lack of adequate safeguards for staff, threats to LGBTQ rights and abuse of migrant workers.
- The UAE and Saudi Arabia play a central role in the military intervention and blockade of Yemen which has led to the deaths of an estimated 85,000 children from hunger since 2015 according to Save the Children.
- That many UK Higher Education institutions, including the University of Cambridge receive direct funding for research from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and from the major arms companies such as BAE Systems and Rolls Royce whose products are being used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
This branch believes:
- That attacks on academic freedom in UAE and other countries in the Gulf are of direct concern to us as members of the higher education community in the UK, whether they are directed at citizens of those countries or visiting academics and students.
- That UK Higher Education institutions have a moral responsibility to ensure that they are not complicit in the war and famine currently devastating Yemen.
This branch resolves:
- To send a message of solidarity to University of Birmingham UCU over its decision to call on its members not to carry out work on or for the University of Birmingham’s Dubai campus unless specifically contracted to do so.
- To encourage CUCU members to likewise to exercise their academic freedom to refuse or resign from voluntary roles for UoB Dubai such as external examiner appointments, journal board memberships and speaking engagements.
- To call on the University of Cambridge to meet with CUCU as a matter of urgency to discuss what steps it is taking to ensure the safety of staff and students involved in UAE-based research and teaching programmes.
- To contact other UCU branches engaged in campaigns related to academic freedom and transnational education in the Middle East with a view to coordinating resources and solidarity actions.
- To call on the University of Cambridge to exclude BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and other companies whose products are being used by the Saudi-led coalition in its war on Yemen from investment and research partnerships.