Black Lives Matter

The reality of racism was brought into sharp and disturbing focus last week as we saw how for some people Black lives simply do not matter. Sadly, the death of George Floyd in the United States is not a one-off occurrence and Black communities across the globe face racism, violence, and discrimination on an everyday basis.

We stand in solidarity with our Black staff and students against all forms of racism and social injustice.  At times like these, it is all too easy to look to people of colour to educate those around them, adding to the pressure and trauma that many are already experiencing during this time.

We recognise that it is not the responsibility of our Black colleagues and students to convince us why we need to tackle societal, structural, and institutional racism. It is the responsibility of us all to eradicate racism. We will continue to challenge this through our research, our education, and our civic engagements.  Our University with its critical role in education and shaping social policy, must be at the forefront of the continuing struggle against prejudice and inequity based on race.

We recognise that, as a University, we still have our own issues, and we are working hard to address these. Many of our Black students and staff feel isolation and discomfort as they experience daily microaggressions across campus.  We encourage students and staff to report any incident of racial harassment and seek support from us.  There is no place for racism at our University.

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, we are also aware of evidence that Black people, as well as Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, are at disproportionately higher risk of illness, death, and bereavement.  We are conscious that this places additional stress and burden on our community. We offer wellbeing and mental health support to all our staff and students including those affected by racism:

To find out more about our activities to support our institutional commitment to race equality please see our Institutional Statement on Race Equality

9 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter

  1. Would be really useful to know more about how the uni are encouraging recruitment of BAME staff and students. I am aware that many of the departments I have worked in at UoB have very few non-white workers, compared to other companies and organisations around the city.

    Thank you.

    1. Dear Alison

      Thank you for your question. Some of the ways we’re working to improve representation of non-White employees at the University include:

      The Apprenticeship Expansion Project: using apprenticeships as a tool to provide an entry point for a professional career, open to anyone over the age of 16.

      Role Advertisements: working with schools, colleges, local community groups and community leaders to ensure that our recruitment opportunities reach potential candidates from diverse backgrounds.

      Recruitment Workshops: role and application workshops in the community to provide a background to roles, an opportunity to ask questions and help completing application forms.

      JOIN US! – we are developing a co-designed and co-delivered employability programme. This will recruit for specific roles and be co-designed and co-delivered by local community organisations that have expertise in BAME recruitment and development.

      Engaging with our local BAME communities – we have participated in BAME-led and directed city wide events to help raise awareness of the University as an employer.

      Participation in city-wide working groups – we are learning from and contributing to a various city-wide working groups, including the Bristol Strategic Leaders Race Equality Group where we work with other public sector agencies to improve the opportunities and experiences of BAME individuals and communities.

      Funded research internships – these provide paid experience in research for new graduates, with BAME students being a key target group. We hope that this experience will encourage and support Black students to progress into postgraduate study, and from there into academic careers. It will be many years before we see these students in academic roles but we are committed to making long-term change.

      Best wishes

      Judith

  2. If you actually want to help ameliorate racism in the University, stop exploiting minorities with casual contracts, make an active and conscious effort to hire more black and BAME faculty. You could also help to fight the hostile environment that minorities have to endure every single day.

  3. Dear Judith and Sarah,
    On behalf of the network, the members of the staff LGBT+ network committee would like to express our thanks for the statement “Black Lives Matter – a statement from the University” sent on June 2nd 2020. We strongly believe that it is important for the whole University to continue to show such solidarity at this time.

    We were pleased to see links to resources and encouragement to report incidents of microaggression and overt racism. We feel that the acknowledgement that it is not the responsibility of black students and staff to convince the rest of the University as to why they should tackle racism was important.

    With respect, we also believe this ought to be extended to informing and educating the rest of the University staff on how they can actively do this. This would shift the emphasis and responsibility to all staff, not just BAME staff. Possibly sharing links to educational resources, anti-racism charities and groups, and the bystander training would be a benefit here. In other words, sharing resources on what action white staff and allies can take to support their colleagues right now, as well as the movement generally. This would act as a call to action for white staff and allies, to take this opportunity to educate themselves, to call out injustice and to support their colleagues.

    For our own part the committee has reached out to the staff BAME network to offer support and solidarity and we will be sharing educational and anti-racism sources with our network. We are open to suggestions of other actions we might take as a network to show our support in this situation.

    With best wishes,

    The Staff LGBT+ network committee
    (This message has also been sent individually by email to both of you)

    1. Thank you very much for your feedback. Please be assured that it really was not our intention to suggest responsibility for preventing racism lies with the BAME community. The above blog was our initial response to events. Given the hurt and distress these events have caused, we wanted to share resources to support staff and students directly affected by racism as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we have been actively discussing the action we can take to bring about significant and meaningful change in this area. This has included considering a wide range of recommendations received from staff and students. As you may have seen, we have since shared a wide range of learning resources so that we can all take responsibility for educating ourselves in this area. There is, of course, much more to be done. I’m hopeful we can draw on recent events to improve the University’s collective understanding of racism and privilege, and take steps to bring about much needed change.

      Best wishes

      Judith

  4. Thanks, Judith, for this post that relegates dealing with the fallout of structural and institutional racism to internal and external mental health providers. I would be really interested to know:
    – what exactly are “our own issues”, and how will the university address them?
    Which measurable goals are put in place to:
    – close the BAME attainment gap?
    – increase student recruitment of disadvantaged?
    – overcome the segregation in the city of Bristol?
    – decolonise the curriculum?
    – increase the number of black staff, especially in senior positions?
    – take responsibility for the University’s entanglement with slavery and offer financial support to black students?

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