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Statement from The Russell Group on UCU motion on Israeli boycott

By The Russell Group, 30 May 2007
Source: Russell Group Press Release

Statement from The Russell Group on UCU motion on Israeli boycott

30 May 2007

The Russell Group of the UKs research-intensive universities today strongly condemned the motion passed by the University and College Union for branches to debate the Israeli boycott.

Professor Malcolm Grant, Chairman of the Russell Group and President and Provost of UCL, said:

"We reject outright the call for an academic boycott. It is a contradiction in terms and in direct conflict with the mission of a university. It betrays a misunderstanding of the academic mission which is founded squarely on freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech. Any institution worthy of the title of university has the responsibility to protect these values, and it is particularly disturbing to find an academic union attacking academic freedom in this way.

"The Russell Group universities will uphold academic freedom by standing firm against any boycott that threatens it."

Notes for editors

1. The purpose of the Russell Group is to provide thought leadership and strategic direction for the 20 major research intensive universities of the UK; we aim to ensure that policy development in a wide range of issues relating to higher education is underpinned by a robust evidence base and a commitment to civic responsibility, improving life chances, raising aspirations and contributing to economic prosperity and innovation.

2. Formed in 1994 at a meeting convened in the Hotel Russell, London, the Group is composed of the Vice-Chancellors/Principals of the Universities listed here: http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/

In 2004/5, Russell Group Universities accounted for 65% (over 1.8billion) of UK Universities' research grant and contract income, 56% of all doctorates awarded in the United Kingdom, and over 30% of all students studying in the United Kingdom from outside the EU. In the 2001 national Research Assessment Exercise, 78% of the staff in Grade 5* departments and 57% of the staff in Grade 5 departments were located in Russell Group Universities, and in 2004/5 Russell Group Universities were allocated approximately 64% of the total quality-related research funding (QR) allocated by the Funding Councils.

Russell Group media enquiries to Richard Wyatt - 07745 840718

The Russell Group
1 Northumberland Av
Trafalgar Sq
London WC2N 5BW


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