Following the news today that the GCU Catholic chaplain held a mass ‘for the gross offence to God which is Pride Glasgow’ (link to evening times article: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/16359297.glasgow-caledonian-university-chaplain-holds-mass-for-gross-offence-of-pride/ ) the GCU branch of UCU calls for clear and decisive action from the University.
The actions of the chaplain amount to homophobic hate speech and undermines the equality and diversity that we as a university should strive for. Universities should be safe spaces for people regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation. We cannot be complicit in silence when 14% of LGBT young people say they have experienced bullying at university, of whom 94% report this affected their mental health and 64% their educational attainment (LGBT Youth Scotland, 2017).
We are pleased with the positive support given to Pride by our university, and its staff and students, and are aware that university management have expressed profound dismay at how the positivity of the university’s involvement in Pride could be undermined for staff and students by the actions of the chaplain.
Our branch believes that the actions of the chaplain are in total contradiction to the dignity at work and study policy of Glasgow Caledonian University that apply to all students, staff, governors, contractors and visitors, and which establish a commitment which states:
A positive working and learning environment which supports dignity at work and study is vital to the success of the University. Therefore, we will take a Zero Tolerance approach to any form of unlawful discrimination, including harassment, victimisation, racism, sexism, homophobia, and any other unacceptable behaviour. Dignity and respect should underpin our day to day behaviours, and everyone has rights and responsibilities under this Policy.
In the light of the above the GCU branch of UCU expects this ZeroTolerance approach to be enforced and thus calls for the dismissal of the chaplain with immediate effect. No one who engages in or endorses hate speech can possibly reflect the values for the Common Good that our university seeks to promote. It is therefore crucial that the leadership of our university takes necessary action in order to uphold the reputation of Glasgow Caledonian University as an inclusive environment that celebrates the equality and diversity that Pride Glasgow represents.