At LSBU, a full-time black student is 18% less likely to receive a 1st class degree than a white student.
The university knows this and is addressing it, but the plan is five years long and still in the very early stages. We now need a comprehensive review of what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong.
This kind of gap is entirely unacceptable; universities are meant to be the epicentre of modern life. How can we lead the world in this new post-pandemic era when we have an awarding gap that is this severe? Whilst the university is aware of this and is currently actively starting to try and come up with a solution – they are not doing enough. We need to bring together all communities and reach out to ensure that no group is left behind.
We need to put more pressure on the university to address this. The university needs to apportion more funding so that solutions to this problem can start rolling out in the next academic year, with changes from this September.
We need to focus on:
- Decolonising the curriculum, removing structural racism from any aspect of the teaching syllabus by doing away with relics from the past. We need to push for more positive role models from a wide range of backgrounds with various life experiences.
- Diverse hiring, so more lecturers and university leaders are inspiring figures for all of our students to look up to as role models.
- Strict procedures to deal with any form of racial harassment or discrimination. So that abuse of any kind is dealt with in a zero-tolerance manner. Any hate crime or microaggression is still a breach and must be dealt with in due course.
I want to bring all students into this conversation, the solution to this is very complex, and we need to ensure that all avenues are explored. I want students to be aware of the problem, and so together, with the university, we can actively begin to solve this. I want to be your ally and end hate crimes at LSBU whilst ensuring a high level of diversity is attained throughout the university. We must continue to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the university, creating an environment where everybody's voice counts.
During my first month, I've been involved in many meetings looking at this issue. I've expressed my disappointment that this is a five-year plan, but am being told that this is a requirement.
Currently, I hope to work to bring more students in on this conversation and set up a series of comprehensive, far-reaching focus groups.