09 April 2014
Race Discrimination Still Problem at Universities
A new report from the group Black British Academics (BBA) has suggested that UK universities need to do more to combat discrimination both among students and employees.
Responding to the organisation's annual Race Equality Survey, 56% of people reported suffering from some form of discrimination within a university context, while a worrying 73% said they would rate their institution's policy on race as either poor or very poor.
Many of the 100 respondents to the study were critical of their organisation's recruitment policy, which they felt was often designed to leave minority applicants at a disadvantage, reports the Times Higher Education Supplement.
One individual said they felt they were not taken seriously by bosses, meaning they had to do more simply to be noticed in comparison to white British colleagues.
Another suggested they were often the last to hear of departmental developments, having to rely on formal channels because they were either deliberately or inadvertently excluded from the informal routes through which such information often travels.
Universities could be leaving themselves open to race discrimination claims if they do not take steps to counter these accusations.
A 2013 poll, also from the BBA, found 73% of black academics would favour positive discrimination in favour of those groups least represented within the higher education sector.
"Black staff are treated with contempt and disgust, and career progression is almost non-existent among our demographic," one respondent declared.
"Our survey shows that black and minority ethnic staff are frustrated by racial inequalities that block their path to senior positions and feel positive action is the most effective strategy to address their under-representation and low progression to senior levels," said Deborah Gabriel, the report's author and the founder of BBA.
Only 85 of the UK's 18,500 professors are black, and only 17 are black women. While some steps have been taken to improve diversity in the sector, it appears they are having insufficient impact.
By Francesca Witney