Academics

Racism in universities is a systemic problem, not a series of incidents | Kehinde Andrews | Education

Racial harassment, from open abuse to more passive mistreatment, is so commonplace in UK universities that for black staff members such as myself, it feels like something we just have to get used to. With the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s new report, we now have evidence to prove that racism is grossly under-acknowledged in universities. The figures show that, somehow, 43% and 56 % of universities thought that every incident of racial harassment against students and…

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Cambridge isn’t the only university to fail at handling sexual misconduct complaints | Georgina Calvert-Lee | Education

Last weekend saw calls for a reform of the University of Cambridge’s collegiate system after one college, Trinity Hall, readmitted an (emeritus) fellow accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment, only two years after stating that he “will not be present in college at any time in the future”. It must have felt like a gross betrayal to the students. This looks like a u-turn, given that the university promotes itself as a leader in tackling campus sexual misconduct through…

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UK to deport academic to Democratic Republic of Congo – which she has never visited | Education

Furaha Asani, a young academic at Leicester University, was shocked when her visa application was rejected in August. But real fear set in when she realised Britain plans to deport her in three weeks’ time to the Democratic Republic of Congo – a war-torn country she has never visited and where the Home Office agrees sexual violence is pervasive. Dr Asani came to the UK on a full scholarship to do a PhD on infection and immunity at Sheffield University,…

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Elite universities are too obsessed with tradition to tackle racism effectively | Clive Nwonka | Education

As we begin a new academic year, the struggle to decolonise higher education in the UK continues – especially after the issue of racism in UK universities returned to the fore over the summer. The decolonisation of universities is founded on the struggle to give non-western knowledge the prominence it deserves, challenging how we understand, study and experience the world through education. It is a collaborative movement which brings together different issues, experiences and perspectives to radically overhaul how universities…

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As an Iranian academic, I’m fed up of being asked to focus on poverty and oppression | Sadaf Javdani | Education

“If you decide to stay in Europe and enjoy your freedom here instead of going back, nothing will change. So why don’t you consider going back to your country?” These weren’t the racist remarks of a stranger or acquaintance, but an anthropology programme director at a German university whom I was meeting to discuss my postdoctoral proposal. I wanted to research material and sensory perceptions of home, in a way that was unrelated to immigration or asylum. “Instead of working…

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Oxford professor’s children refused visas to join her in UK | Education

Amber Murrey, an American academic, was “ecstatic” about being appointed associate professor in geography at Oxford University last year. But the dream turned sour two weeks ago when the Home Office refused to grant visas for her two daughters, aged four and nine, to live with her in the UK. Dr Murrey used an immigration lawyer to make sure the visa applications for her daughters, who have US passports, went smoothly, and was not anticipating a problem. Her husband has…

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As an academic, should I worry about my conference carbon footprint? | Sophia Kier-Byfield | Education

The other day, as I boarded a budget airline plane to attend a conference in Spain, I was overcome with a feeling I’ve come to recognise: carbon-footprint guilt. As a PhD student, this would be my first international conference, an exciting chance to meet fellow researchers in my field – feminism and gender studies – and discuss topics we care about. But as I sat chatting casually with other academics headed the same way, I couldn’t help but worry about…

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Cutting tuition fees misses the point. We need to overhaul the whole system | Matt Waddup | Education

There are lots of good proposals in today’s Augar review of post-18 education and funding in England, including the restoration of maintenance grants for the poorest students, new funding opportunities for adult learners, and the expansion of further education colleges. Yet its downfall is that it fundamentally fails to grapple with the contradictions at the core of our marketised education system. As such, it gets some big calls wrong. For starters, the review correctly notes the plight of further education…

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Sonita Alleyne to be first black leader of an Oxbridge college | Education

A businesswoman is to become the first black leader of an Oxbridge college after she was elected master of Jesus College, Cambridge. Sonita Alleyne will also be the first female head in the history of the college, which was founded in 1496, when she takes up the role from 1 October. The 51-year-old entrepreneur, who has previously served as a BBC trustee and chairs the British Board of Film Classification, described her election as an honour. Alleyne was brought up…

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Video games can turn university graduates into better employees | Matthew Barr | Education

In recent years, Boris Johnson has excelled at making ignorant pronouncements and illiterate blunders. From offensive remarks on burqas to reciting Kipling in Myanmar and his ludicrous statements on Brexit, Johnson has perfected the art of getting it wrong. It feels like he’s managed to offend just about everyone. For video game educators like myself, that moment arrived way back in 2006, when Johnson attacked video games as a learning tool. “They [young people] become like blinking lizards, motionless, absorbed,…

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