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June, 2020:

RIP Malcolm Brynin (with updated funeral details 7.7.2020)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Malcolm Brynin, Reader in the Institute for Social and Economic Research, who died Friday 26 June 2020.

Malcolm was an active member of Essex UCU for a decade or more, well liked and respected by colleagues on the branch committee and throughout the university community. He served at various times as our casework coordinator, as a caseworker himself, and from time to time, as a picket organiser. His thoughtful insights and patient steadiness were much valued in dealing with difficult issues and questions of how to support a member in need.

In recent years Malcolm played a leading role in UCU’s work to hold management to account in its many restructurings and resultant redundancies. He worked selflessly to resist redundancies by pointing out the logical flaws, personal politics, uncaringness, and loss of expertise he perceived in these processes. He was always willing to draft a well-informed document or briefing or letter to senior management about ill-considered job losses. His wisdom, kindness, and generosity were appreciated by every member of UCU lucky enough to know him.

Malcolm has been taken from us before his time. His friends and comrades on the UCU committee will miss his wise and humble presence. Rest in Peace, Malcolm.

 

*updated info 7.7.20*: Malcolm’s funeral takes place at 12:30 on Thursday (9 July).  Donations are to Malcolm’s favoured beneficiary, Manorlands Hospice, by following this link . A memorial event to celebrate Malcolm’s life will take place when this is possible, where the service will involve the delightful assemblage of music and words that Malcolm had planned for it. Members of the University community will be informed about this in due course.

Feel free to post any condolences in our UCU comments section below this page.

ISER have their own tribute page and tributes on twitter :https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/2020/06/29/tributes-to-dr-malcolm-brynin  

https://twitter.com/iseressex

The university also has their own page: https://remembr.com/malcolm.brynin

Sincerely, Essex UCU Branch Committee

Let’s Discuss: Covid-19 H&S concerns, Tues 16 June 1-2pm

Our next Let’s Discuss session (next in a series of forums facilitated by Essex UCU) is on Covid-19 health and safety concerns at Uni of Essex. Please do invite your colleagues. Non-UCU-members may join in.

 Let’s Discuss: Covid Health and Safety Concerns

Tuesday 16 June, 1-2pm.

https://essex-university.zoom.us/j/92542998429

Please also feel free to send me any good articles or scientific research on Covid-19 between now and Tuesday. I hope to see some of you virtually then.

Jak Peake (Chairing on behalf of Essex UCU committee)

still spaces on: CPD webinar 17 June “Taking Care of Yourself”

*Still space on webinars below (as at 12.6.2020)*

Essex UCU are holding an interactive webinar entitled Taking Care of Yourself for all staff at grade 7+ at Essex University. The webinar will look at how you can protect your own mental health during this unprecedented time; what support UCU can provide and how you can play your part in helping your colleagues get through it. The webinar is free and is open to all staff whether or not you are a member of UCU.

 

Taking Care of Yourself will be delivered via zoom on Wednesday 17th June. As I expect demand to be high there will be 3 sessions, starting at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 3pm.

 

The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:

  • Understand why it is important to look after your health and well-being at this time
  • Identify some of the challenges you face while working in isolation
  • Develop strategies to support your mental and physical health
  • Identify support available from UCU.

How it will work

The session will last for about 45 minutes plus around 15 minutes for questions and answers with the webinar tutors. There will then be an opportunity to raise issues prompted by the webinar with a member of UCU staff, which should take another 15 to 20 minutes. Therefore the total time commitment will be less than an hour and a half.

 

The webinar will be topical, helpful and a springboard to initiate discussion around what we need to support us through this health crisis, both personally and at an institutional level.

 

The session will be led by experienced UCU CPD tutors.

 

You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. I would also recommend that you check that you can use zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.

 

How to apply:

 

Click here to book a place on the 10.30 webinar

http://cpd.web.ucu.org.uk/events/ucu-taking-care-of-yourself-webinar-essex-university-wednesday-17-june-1030/

 

Click here to book a place on the 12.30 webinar

http://cpd.web.ucu.org.uk/events/ucu-taking-care-of-yourself-webinar-essex-university-wednesday-17-june-17-june-1230/

 

Click here to book a place on the 15.00 webinar

http://cpd.web.ucu.org.uk/events/ucu-taking-care-of-yourself-webinar-essex-university-wednesday-17-june-1500/

 

*If you are not a member of UCU or you are a member but cannot find your membership number please just leave the membership number details blank on the booking form. *

 

I do need to emphasise that if you do say that you want to be involved, please see that as a commitment as we need a full complement on the day. 

 

You will then be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using zoom, and a short video to watch before the webinar. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. I would also recommend that you do join 5 to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems.

 

If you have any questions please email Glen Pickard from UCU’s national team– gpickard@ucu.org.uk

Black Lives Matter: branch statement 9/6/2020

Black Lives Matter

Essex UCU Branch Committee Statement

09/06/20

 The Essex UCU Branch Committee stands in solidarity with all those protesting against police brutality and White supremacy in the United States and around the world. As in America, Black people in the UK are victim to violence and discrimination that compromises their ability to live with dignity and safety.

We are horrified and disgusted by the racist messages posted by some members of our own student body here at Essex. We cannot pretend that Essex is immune to racist discrimination and abuse and we must redouble our efforts to fight it.

In addition to the measures already promised, we urge the university management to show its commitment to anti-racism and Black Liberation in the UK by:

  • Undertaking and publishing Equality Impact Assessments of all policies and procedures to document racial bias and discrimination, both direct and indirect.
  • Performing an urgent census of the race pay gap at the University, with special attention paid to the correlation between race and insecure/precarious contracts.
  • Publishing these details on the University website and taking action to address them, including refusing to make financial cuts which will exacerbate these race disparities.
  • Taking meaningful steps to support staff in decolonizing the curriculum, encouraging  and incentivising inclusivity of thought and deed in all arenas of study, research and discourse, and addressing the BAME attainment gap.
  • Reforming policies and practices which directly or indirectly discriminate against BAME recruitment and those which deny Black members of staff access to secure employment and promotions.
  • Rejecting government policies and metrics that contribute to racial disparities in higher education.
  • Organising access and outreach programmes that will increase access to higher education for BAME students.
  • Involving BAME communities in the University, and where appropriate, in the wider community to co-design strategy, policy, structures, academic development,  and other modes of action not just in relation to racism issues, but widely as part of a meaningful inclusivity agenda.
  • Developing an international agenda that promotes and incorporates solidarity of action to protect all minority groups across the world against racism and encourage and incentivize students from these communities to study and research at Essex.
  • Taking a zero tolerance policy towards all institutional, structural, and individual racism, especially as it is manifested in racist discrimination, harassment, and violence at the university, and accelerate the process of adoption of the Race Charter. Groups or individuals that support racism (directly or indirectly) have no home at the University of Essex.

 

Similarly, we call on the UK trade union movement to show active solidarity with anti-racist work being undertaken around the world and we commit, locally, to:

  • Seek out the voices of BAME people within and close to our organisations and read and listen to them;
  • Support BAME staff and students who have suffered direct forms of racism including racist abuse and discrimination at work, and both direct and indirect forms of institutional racism that manifest in unthinking policy and procedures;
  • Engage proactively in anti-racist work through Equality & Diversity working groups, particularly with a view to tackling institutional and structural racism within institutions;
  • Support and amplify the work of other groups committed to fighting racism;
  • Centre the race pay gap and race-based contract precarity gap in the anti-casualisation and anti-discrimination work we do.

We call on our members to show active solidarity with anti-racism movements. Below you can find many resources for how to take concrete and immediate actions of support.

Together we can and must fight the racism that is so detrimental to the lives of so many of our friends, students, and colleagues – so many human beings – both at the University of Essex and around the world. Now is the time to act.

Essex UCU Branch Committee

 —— 

How can I help Black Lives Matter in the UK?

Links to petitions and open letters to sign, templates for emails to send, etc.: https://docs.google.com/…/1x65xLdIUDWMUl4_nkuD-EeP98U…/edit…

‘Ways to Help’ – Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/
Particularly their STREAM TO DONATE video. If you can’t donate money, stream the video (and watch the ads) and the ad revenue will go to BLM.

A collection of political education resources, GoFundMes, bail funds and more: https://docs.google.com/…/1CjZMORRVuv-I-qo4B0YfmOTq…/preview

UK-based groups and organisations to consider donating to:

Inquest: https://www.inquest.org.uk/Appeal/make-donation

Netpol: https://netpol.org/about/donations/

UK Black Lives Matter: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ukblm-fund…

National Memorial Family Fund: https://uffcampaign.org/donatio…/mikey-powell-memorial-fund/

Prisoner Solidarity Network:
https://uk.gofundme.com/f/covid19-prisoner-emergency-fund

Community Action on Prison Expansion: https://cape-campaign.org/donate/

Green and Black Cross: https://greenandblackcross.org/get-involved/donate/

Belly Mujinga
GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rip-belly-mujinga
Petition: https://www.change.org/p/govia-thameslink-justice-for-belly…
Contact British Transport Police: http://www.btp.police.uk/…/complaints_against_individuals.a…
Email Sadiq Khan: mayor@london.gov.uk
Email your MP: https://members.parliament.uk/

Anti-racism resources for allies: https://docs.google.com/…/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-…/mobilebasic…

‘75 Things White People can do for Racial Justice’: https://medium.com/…/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-ju…

Reading list on prisons, police, and abolition: https://docs.google.com/…/1a5gAhjDjAU0amXlKo-uw6FBOkD…/edit…

‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ – Reni Eddo-Lodge (UK-focused): https://idiscover.lib.cam.ac.uk/primo-explore/search…