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University equality lectures bans straight, white men

Meka Beresford June 8, 2016

A series of lectures on equality have banned cis, straight, white able-bodied males from attending.

The University College Union (UCU) ruled in a conference in Liverpool last week that people who do not identify according to the debate topic will not be able to attend the lectures.

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They said they had reached their decision because they want members who attend the conference to be able to demonstrate their “protected characteristics” and to ensure a safe space was preserved.

The lectures will cover four different topics: ethnic, disabled, LGBT and female fights for equality. Activists arranging the lectures have said that people who do not fall into the category will be unable to attend even if they have been elected by their union branch.

At the UCU congress meeting in Liverpool last week a motion to allow anybody to attend the lectures was proposed, but dismissed. This motion was the only one not to pass at the conference.

Lecturers involved in the series have defended the move which faced backlash for its decision to not be all inclusive.

Ciara Doyle, a lecturer at The University of Greenwich, said she would not attend the conference if all equality reps gained admittance.

Concerns that the sessions would be dominated with people with no personal experience on matters relating to equality were raised by Dr Doyle. She said: “We see in the union movement that some voices are far louder than others.”

Emma Jane-Phillips, a member for UCU equality, told Time Higher Education: “Equality reps are passionate about equality regardless of their own situation. To infer that someone does not understand someone’s situation just because you don’t tick a box is insulting.”

She added: “It is ridiculous that people who regard equality as their life can’t attend our equality conference.”

The conferences will be held later this year, but the location has not yet been confirmed.

More: conference, Equality, LGBT, London, Queer, UCU

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