Lecturers at the UCU congress passed several motions in support of the Palestinians, including some in defiance of legal advice.
General secretary Sally Hunt advised congress that the union had received advice that a motion and an amendment on Gaza would both be “unlawful” if passed because they were “likely to be viewed by a court as a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions”.
Laura Miles from Bradford College moved a motion congratulating students who occupied in solidarity with Gaza earlier this year. It also called upon the British government to ban arms sales and end economic support for Israel, to ban all imports from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and to expel the Israeli ambassador.
An allegedly “unlawful” amendment to this motion was passed called for “support for the Palestinian call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign”.
Tom Hickey from the University of Brighton moved a motion calling upon the UCU to “host an international, inter-union conference” to investigate implementing this strategy, including an option of institutional boycotts.
An amendment to the motion altered the wording of this motion so that it could be lawfully passed.
There was very little opposition and many lecturers stressed the strength of feeling in support of Palestine in their workplaces.