UCU Congress 2009
Statement | Resolution
Statement from UCL UCU Executive Committee,
3 June 2009
Dear UCU Colleague,
We must put on record our opposition to a witch-hunt against a
colleague and member of the UCU Executive Committee, Sean Wallis,
who has been accused on the internet of making anti-semitic remarks
at a meeting at UCU Congress.
These allegations arose following a fringe meeting where Sean
publicly defended the principle that UCU should not bow to well-funded
legal threats concerning the right of the UCU to debate, at Congress,
motions pertaining to Israel. This is in line with UCU policy.
Sean totally denies the allegations made against him. The reporter
quoted a few words that he allegedly made and then chose to introduce
a right-wing conspiracy theory by way of comment. This reporter
chose not to approach Sean for his opinion and instead published
this 'story' on an internet
blog. Since then the story has been copied
and amplified until it reached the pages of Ha'aretz.
It was only on Monday morning that Sean became aware of the campaign
against him by the hate mail that he started to receive.
The Committee can vouch, as can anyone who knows Sean, that he
has impeccable anti-racist credentials, and the Executive Committee
therefore stands by its Secretary against this witch-hunt, and calls
on UCL UCU members to do the same.
UCL UCU Executive Committee
Note. A resolution proposed by the committee
was passed unanimously at the Union General Meeting of 4 June 2009.
RESOLUTION: DEFEND UCU BRANCH SECRETARY SEAN
UCL UCU notes
- That a report has appeared in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz
alleging anti-semitism in comments made by UCL UCU branch secretary,
Sean Wallis, in a personal capacity, at a fringe meeting at UCU
- That UCU delegates voted en bloc in line with branch
policy at UCU Congress, including in relation to our position
on any putative Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions.
- That unfounded allegations have the potential to intimidate
and damage this union and its members.
UCL UCU believes
- That anti-semitism, clearly defined as racism against Jews,
must be opposed in exactly the same terms as any other racist
ideology, namely, on the basis that an injury to one is an injury
- That trade union and academic freedom entails the right of
members to adopt contrary positions, and to debate international
issues on their merits, free from threat of legal action or libel.
- That this particular allegation of anti-semitism is without
UCL UCU affirms that Sean Wallis has an impeccable reputation
not just as a trade union activist and democrat but also as a consistent
opponent of racism in all of its forms, including opposition to
UCL UCU resolves
- To stand by our branch secretary and against any witch-hunt
- To call on the National Executive Committee of UCU publicly
to register its support for this union officer in all relevant
publications, and to condemn the unfounded campaign being waged
Proposed: UCL UCU Executive Committee
Passed unanimously by over 60 members at a General Meeting on 4
(This resolution was amended by the meeting from the original motion
sent to members.)