“DIVERSITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION: The debate continues this week” was yesterday’s front page header of The Voice – Britain’s Favourite Black Newspaper. It’s not by co-incidence that the newspaper was distributed – fresh out of print, for our main panel discussion event “Why does race matter in the learning environment?” during Diversity Matters Awareness Week 18th – 23rd April at University of the Arts London (UAL).
It was only a matter of time before a national newspaper caught wind of the “UAL So White” #UALSoWhite campaign – calling out UAL’s lack of BAME academic representation which shows to have a direct impact on the standard of degrees BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) and well as International students are gaining. Research (see UAL’s and Diversity Report 2015) shows BAME students are 21% less likely to gain a First or 2:1 in comparison to their white peers.
UAL So White is a campaign which started online via the hashtag #UALSoWhite and has spiralled into a full movement consisting of UAL students, alumni, and support from staff – both BAME and non-BAME, who are no longer willing to stay silent and oppressed by lack of representation and opportunity due to structures such as racism and discrimination which act as a “glass ceiling” barrier.
The campaign inspired by #OscarsSoWhite and more locally #BRITsSoWhite, has presented UAL Senior Management with a list of demands to ensure the university actively engages structural changes to enhance the BAME experience. Included is “For all staff at UAL including the executive board to have mandatory unconscious bias and cultural sensitivity training” and “a 40% increase of BAME academic staff (currently at 9%) in 12 months.“
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The Diversity Matters team would like to extend special thanks to The Voice newspaper for supporting “Diversity Matters Awareness Week” and printing the #UALSoWhite article which was distributed during Diversity Matters panel event “Why does race matter in the learning environment?”
More on “Why does race matter in the learning environment?” later on this blog and our partners for the event www.ShadesOfNoir.org
Find us – like us on Facebook.com/diversitymattersuk
Kai and DM team
–UAL So White Momentum: Discussing BAME Attainment, Retainment and Institutional racism in Academia // NUS BSC Officer