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NUS exposes racism at unis

first_imgAn NUS Report on the experiences of ethnic minority students, entitled the ‘Race for Equality’, has prompted some Oxford students to question whether the university cares about diversity.This is despite a spokesperson for the University stating, “Oxford takes diversity very seriously. The University has an Equality Policy designed to provide an environment that promotes equality, values diversity”. The report, released on Sunday, declared that racism is more widespread in higher education than commonly perceived and that one in six black students have experienced racism in their current institution. The survey determined that while the majority of black students were happy with their institutions, 23% described them as “cliquey” and 7% as “racist”.The report, which questioned 900 students over two years, also urged universities to avoid a “Eurocentric bias” within curriculums, highlighting the fact that a third of black students reported feeling unable to bring their particular perspective into their academic work.It was also said that many black students believed themselves to be “actively excluded” from the Russell Group of leading universities due to institutional racism in the application process and that due to the smaller numbers at these institutions black students who study there would be “more vulnerable” to racism.Benson Egwuonwu Jr., St Catz JCR President-elect, commented, “This report is the latest in a trail of negative stories about the hostility of universities towards black students, and is not encouraging news for prospective candidates for Oxbridge or the Russell Group universities.“It is true that Oxford is a majorly white, middle class institution, yet that is not to say that there is no diversity present.”He added, “My experience so far…has been fantastic, and I have no complaints of racism. However, if black students have experienced racism from university institutions, then it certainly should not be tolerated, and should be tackled swiftly and firmly.”However, when asked whether they felt satisfied within their friendship group, one black student said, “I wouldn’t say I feel excluded, but sometimes…completely out of the blue there is a shocking level of ignorance.”They said that while their friends and family did not negatively judge them, “Sometimes they do rinse me for going to Oxford.”When asked about the University’s committment to the issue, they said, “No I don’t think they care about diversity.”However, Daniel Stone of OUSU’s CRAE (Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality), stated that the University “does recognise that more needs to be done to promote racial equality”.Stone also highlighted the fact that while there were often only a few cases of “overt” racism, most issues faced by black students would be caused by “ignorance, thoughtlessness or a perception of people from different cultures based purely on media stereotypes”.OUSU’s Tom Perry, VP (Welfare and Equal Opportunities) commented, “It is disturbing that such a high proportion of black (African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean) students have experienced racism, or have found their learning environment to be isolating, cliquey or hostile.”NUS President, Aaron Porter responded to the report stating that, “We have a long way to go to close the participation gap for black students in education. If black students feel unwelcome in classrooms this must be addressed by tackling the very real racism that still exists on our campuses.”last_img read more