Our Race Equality Survey, released today highlights the extreme dissatisfaction by black and minority ethnic students and staff over longstanding racial inequalities in the higher education sector.
Two thirds of respondents who completed our online questionnaire rate their institutions as poor or very poor with regard to race equality.
The chief concern of students who make up 52% of respondents is the lack of ethnic diversity of staff. However, lack of diversity in curricula was identified as the second most important issue facing black and minority ethnic students.
For staff, the lack of opportunities for progression for black and minority ethnic employees is the most problematic issue. Comments by staff blame nepotism and disparate treatment by staff from all ethnic backgrounds.
However, the most disturbing finding is experiences of racism. 58% of respondents said that they have been discriminated against or disadvantaged because of their race or ethnicity.
The comments run into several pages, from subtle forms of racism to openly racist abuse. One staff member told of being called a “nigger bitch” and “slave” by a white colleague, while another said “black staff are treated with contempt and disgust.”
Asked to identify the most effective strategy for challenging racial inequalities, respondents selected strategic intervention – working in collaboration with university leaders to influence race equality policy and practice – the approach that has been adopted by Black British Academics, since its inception one year ago. Positive action came a close second.
Commenting on the survey, Deborah Gabriel, founder & CEO of Black British Academics and author of the report said:
“The findings of our survey make grim reading and are a serious indictment of the higher education sector with regard to race equality. “I hope that our report serves as a wake-up call and catalyst for change.”