Race in education

‘Monolithically white places’: academics on racism in universities | Education

An inquiry by the government’s equality watchdog has condemned universities for being oblivious to the scale of racism on their campuses. The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report, has been widely welcomed for highlighting universities’ complacency on tackling racism. But the body has also been criticised by leading academics of colour and student leaders for examining what it describes as the racial harassment of white British students and staff alongside the racism suffered by their black, Asian and minority ethnic…

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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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Universities must stop covering up racism in order to protect their own reputations | Ilyas Nagdee | Education

The extent of racism in UK universities has been yet again exposed by a new Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report. But while statistics like the fact that more than a quarter of minority ethnic students have faced both physical and verbal racist attacks are shocking, they’re not new. Last year the Student Room found that one in two students had witnessed or faced racism on campus, while a National Union of Students (NUS) report said that incidents of…

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Equality in schools: ‘What makes people think a black woman can’t be headteacher?’ | Education

It was a Friday evening in spring last year and headteacher Evelyn Forde had arrived at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ACSL) annual conference dinner in Birmingham. To her surprise, the table she had reserved was already occupied by another woman and her group. “I said I had reserved the table. The lady said to me: ‘Are you sure?’ I said: ‘My colleagues are on their way. They’ll be here soon.’ And then she said: ‘Oh, I’m sorry!…

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Manchester University students paint over Rudyard Kipling mural | Education

Students at the University of Manchester have painted over a mural of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, arguing that the writer “dehumanised people of colour”. The poem If, which was written around 1895, had been painted on the wall of the university’s newly refurbished students’ union. But students painted over the verses, replacing them with the 1978 poem Still I Rise by theUS poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. In a statement on Facebook, Sara Khan, the union’s liberation…

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Students accuse Goldsmiths University of watering down racism report | Education

Goldsmiths, University of London has been accused of watering down a damning report that illuminates how black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students feel victimised on campus by removing a foreword written by an anti-racism student activist organisation that was central to its publication. Mona Mounir, welfare and liberation officer at Goldsmiths students’ union, says the foreword she was asked to write for the report was pulled at the last minute on the grounds it was “too political”. She was…

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‘Stormzy effect’: record number of black Britons studying at Cambridge | Education

The “Stormzy effect” has helped inspire record numbers of black British students to study at the University of Cambridge, following the musician’s high-profile backing of scholarships for black students at the institution. Cambridge said 91 black British students had been admitted as first-year undergraduates at the start of the academic year, an increase of nearly 50% compared with last year’s 61 students. It takes the total number of black undergraduates studying at Cambridge above 200 for the first time. Last…

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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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UK universities condemned for failure to tackle racism | Education

Senior academics and politicians have condemned UK universities for failing to tackle endemic racism against students and staff after a Guardian investigation found widespread evidence of discrimination in the sector. University staff from minority backgrounds said the findings showed there was “absolute resistance” to dealing with the problem. Responses to freedom of information (FoI) requests the Guardian sent to 131 universities showed that students and staff made at least 996 formal complaints of racism over the past five years. Of…

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Black academics bear brunt of university work on race equality | Education

Earlier this year, Maxine Thomas-Asante asked her university if she could pause her work supporting black, Asian and minority ethnic students. She was running for office at her students’ union, finishing coursework and preparing for her final exams. “I had to say I’m going to take a break.” For the past two years, Thomas-Asante, co-president for democracy and education at Soas University of London student union, has attended meetings, panel discussions and focus groups, created mentoring schemes, organised events, listened…

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What did dignity at work training teach me? Bullying isn’t my university’s problem | Anonymous academic | Education

My university offers a range of workshops to make its bureaucratic processes transparent for new employees. Before beginning the new term, I had to attend one on “dignity at work”. I had a vague sense of what this meant – challenging harassment and bullying, cultivating a respectful institutional culture – and was keen to hear more. I was surprised to find this workshop delivered by an external private company for a corporate rate. The workshop leader said this would help…

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One in four teachers in England say they have witnessed ‘off-rolling’ | Education

One in four teachers in England say they have witnessed pupils being illegitimately removed from schools, often to artificially boost a school’s performance, according to a new survey published by Ofsted. The figures suggest the practice, known as “off-rolling” – pupils being shunted off a school’s roll in order to manipulate its exam results or rankings in league tables – is widespread, despite three-quarters of teachers saying they have not seen or heard of the practice. Some reported that parents…

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