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Equalities Officer candidate statements:

Andrea James

“I’m a Graduate Associate Tutor in PPL and FTM. My teaching and research focuses on how female students experience harassment online especially in the context of “lad” cultures. I have experienced first-hand and through my research how casualisation disproportionately impacts women, BME, disabled and LGBTQI+ staff. This gives me a good knowledge of and commitment to the broader equalities agenda, as well as a willingness to build on the role through training.

I have experience challenging workplace discrimination through my work around the Changing the Culture taskforce, my role as Assistant Warden, and previous voluntary work for Nightline. If elected to the position I will build a solid commitment to equalities within the branch, fight the gender pay gap, seek to increase members representation and attendance at UCU equalities events and provide support for case-work related to equalities issues.”

Susan Sayce

“I am your current UEA Equality representative working to ensure that equality remains a priority. I have spent a lifetime researching diversity issues particularly in gender and pensions and now work to improve the culture at UEA for all members of all protected groupings.

My arguments about bullying and harassment have helped to reinstate dignity and respect at work policy which had lapsed.  As your Equality representative I have interrogated the bi-annual equality report investigating inequalities of all protected characteristics such as gender, ethnicity and disability. Consequently when UCU reviewed universities’ pay differences in 2016 UEA were listed sixth in having the narrowest gap between male and female academics at all levels.  Using the new gender pay review reporting I want to challenge barriers at the senior lecturer level as well as administration.  In order to extend this work further to all groupings please vote for me.”


Ordinary committee member candidate statements:

Pierre Bocquillon

“As a Lecturer in European politics and UCU Representative for the School of PPL, I am already an active member of the Union. I am running for the position of ordinary member of the UEA Branch Executive Committee. I believe that it is crucial time for UCU. The recent industrial action has spurred an unprecedented growth in the Union’s membership, and there is a clear need to build on this momentum to make the Union more relevant, responsive and accountable to its membership. As a relatively new member of staff, I am especially sensitive to the issues faced by doctoral researchers, associate tutors and early career members of staff. If elected, I hope to use my role to fight casualization and improve work conditions, particularly for our colleagues in the most insecure positions.”


Jessica Budds

“I am Senior Lecturer in Geography and International Development.  I research how water policy is influenced by capitalist accumulation and how this affects low-income groups in Latin America.

I have been a UCU member since starting my career in 2006, and have always participated in industrial action.  I have been a joint local rep for the last four years, prioritising recruitment and communication about union matters, and an ordinary member of the branch committee for the past two.

Like many, I was enthused by the scale of the 2018 strike.  This was about more than the further devaluation of USS; it was about resisting the ongoing marketisation of higher education as reflected in the erosion of staff pay and conditions alongside the allocation of resources to new facilities and inflated executive salaries.  The resulting consumer culture in student recruitment and education undermines the values of a university”


Georgia Walker Churchman

“I am standing for election as an ordinary member of the UEA UCU committee because I believe that, for the first time in a generation, our union is in a position to make meaningful and lasting improvements to the higher education sector: in terms of pensions, yes, but also a wider struggle around working conditions, casualization and precarity, and workload. These issues affect members from admin staff, to postgraduate ATs, to ECRs on fractional contracts, through to well-established senior lecturers encumbered by unrealistic recruitment targets and endless, fruitless administration. Working in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities, I am well placed to hear the views of colleagues at all levels of their career from HUM and beyond. I will ensure that UEA represents the interests of all our members and the sector as a whole – the future is unwritten. It’s up for grabs.”


Jo Drugan

“I’m standing for the Branch Committee to contribute what I can to the Union and fellow members at an important time, with threats to all our working conditions and students’ experience of university, and the awful impact of Brexit.

Being on the picket line with colleagues recently was inspiring and I learned a lot. Now I’d like to make sure the focus is firmly on improving UEA for all the people who make the university, not the buildings where we do it. I’m particularly interested in helping with work around diversity and equality, and issues related to outsourcing.

I’ve got experience of elected roles from when I was an undergraduate member of the Students’ Representative Council at Glasgow, through to my subject association and UEA Senate more recently. If elected, I’d commit to the role, turn up and try to help change things for the better.”


Rob Grant

“I am a lecturer in DEV, where I have worked since arriving at UEA to do my PhD in 1999, and have been a UCU member for most of this time. Although I have mostly voted against action in recent ballots, I strongly supported the current strike and was on the picket lines 13 out of 14 days. Following acceptance of the employers offer I think our priority must now be to build and strengthen the union. UCU has shown its value in major disputes and does great individual casework but the former are thankfully infrequent and the latter largely invisible. I wonder if this partly explains why engagement by the local membership often seems low? I’m interested in exploring ways to support members’ interests at branch level with routine but important aspects of working conditions such as IT, teaching room quality, admin processes, childcare and international staff visa costs.”


Chris Jones

“I am standing for the Branch Committee because I want to strengthen our branch’s ties with the other unions represented on campus to protect and improve working rights across UEA. As someone who grew up locally, I know the positive benefits that UEA has upon the area, both in education and in employment. But this is threatened by the marketization of Higher Education. Colleagues across campus, and across unions, will face significant challenges in the coming months and years. These challenges are best tackled together. Standing on the picket lines during the recent industrial action, I was buoyed by the solidarity and support of our colleagues in other unions. Outsourcing and rationalisation threaten job-security and working conditions throughout the University. Through organisation and solidarity, we can collectively protect our employment rights, improve working conditions, and build upon the strike action”


Ben Little

“I believe in universities as democratic institutions where the views and interests of staff and students should be properly represented. I oppose marketization and bureaucratisation and think we need significant changes to governance structures sector wide. I have been involved in union activities for around seven years. At my previous institution, I was a caseworker on the branch executive with a focus on anti-casualisation and bullying. Shortly before I left, I helped to organise a report on bullying that branch exec members have said helped to change the organisational culture of the institution. During the strike, I was press contact for the local branch and was one of the @UEA_UCU twitter account operators. I am standing for the executive committee as I believe my values and experience will be useful in advising the branch and its strategy”


Georgia Philip

“I joined the University and UCU in 2011 and I work as a researcher in the School of Social Work. As a researcher on fixed term contracts, I have a particular interest in the anti-casualization strand of the union’s work, as well as the pension dispute, and gender pay gap. Aside from what I have learned about pensions, union organisation and negotiation, the recent industrial action provided a powerful lesson in building collective action, shared knowledge and connections across our university. So for these reasons, I would like to get stuck in – to playing a more direct role in how our local branch develops; not just in terms of increasing membership and supporting individual members, but in fostering the sense of agency and we created for ourselves this Spring.”


Claudina Richards


Mark Vincent

”Casualisation of labour is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems currently afflicting higher education. From my experience working as an associate tutor in the School of History I will work passionately on both the local and national level to continue to fight this issue”