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Academics back call to ban lads' magazines from campus

LECTURERS have backed plans to ban so-called lads' magazines from Scottish universities as part of a drive to eradicate sexism.

DAVE ANDERSON: Union president also warned of marking boycott.
DAVE ANDERSON: Union president also warned of marking boycott.

Academics from the UCU ­Scotland union are demanding shops on campus are either stopped from selling the publications or prevented from putting them on display.

The union's annual congress in Stirling heard that the sale of lads' magazines was part of a growing culture of sexism at ­Scottish universities that had to be tackled.

Last year, a report into ­allegations of sexist heckling at Glasgow University Union (GUU) uncovered anecdotal evidence of sexual assaults in the form of groping and touching.

The report said: "There was some suggestion such sexualised behaviour from some student members had become normalised, with some of the female students accepting the behaviour as part of membership of GUU."

Also last year, members of a male hockey team from Stirling University caught singing sexist songs on a public bus were banned from representing the institution.

Janice Aitken, UCU Scotland's equalities officer, said such ­incidents were an issue at all universities and highlighted an occasion at Dundee University where members of the feminist society were heckled and called "slags" by a rugby team.

She said: "It is completely ­unacceptable that this sort of behaviour is allowed to continue and it is time to take action.

"We have to think about the impact it has on a female student entering a university shop to find magazines on sale that depict women as sex objects.

"It is equally important that male students are also aware that the university views these sort of magazines as unacceptable."

Earlier, UCU Scotland president Dave Anderson warned that lecturers were gearing up to ­implement a marking boycott if they did not receive a better offer from university employers in a UK-wide dispute over pay.

He said: "There are 30 days for the employers to address this, but the message I want to send from this congress is that if action is necessary to achieve fair pay then UCU Scotland members will take that action."

Mr Anderson also attacked universities that have docked staff a full day's pay even though they only took part in a two-hour strike during the dispute.

"These universities - Aberdeen, Robert Gordon, Dundee, Stirling and University of the West of ­Scotland - when faced with two hours of disruption decided to seek further disruption by docking a full day's wages.

"Clearly unfair and unjust, the UCU will challenge these institutions all the way. The message from members at these institutions is clear: we will not be intimidated by bully-boy tactics and threats from management."

The pay row broke out after staff from institutions across the UK took part in industrial action to protest over a 1% pay offer.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association, which negotiates pay for all UK universities, argues the offer is the best that can be afforded in the financial climate.

They also stress that staff not yet at the top of pay scales will receive a 4% pay increase due to established incremental rises.

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