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The University and College Union (UCU), a post-school union representing more than 120 000 British academics, has tackled controversial policy topics recently. They have voted both to reject a government plan that would monitor and single out Muslim students and for “a comprehensive and consistent boycott” of all Israeli academic institutions.
Regarding the training and cultivating of radical Muslims, the British government has proposed to monitor extremist behaviour in colleges and universities, as this is thought to be a breeding ground for extremists. The UCU called on its members to resist attempts by the government to persuade colleges and universities to increase surveillance of Muslim or other minority students, labelling it a 'witch hunt'.
Though not nearly as a unanimous a vote, 257 members of the UCU also voted to reject Israel’s academic presence in the occupied West Bank. This vote has received a harsh reaction, both from Tony Blair, British Minister of Higher Education Bill Rammell, many American pro-Isreal professors, the Royal Sociey, the Academy of Medical Sciences and Universities UK (university vice-chancelors). The vote would not become UCU policy until a formal debate and final text is produced, something that is unlikey to happen in spite of the reaction.
UCU is described as a force working for educators and education, as expressed in a former ACA Newsletter - Education Europe. The UCU was formed on 2006 by the amalgamation of two strong partners: the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and NATFHE (the University and College Lecturers' Union).University and College Union