Goldsmiths, University of London is taking a range of actions to address “simply unacceptable” racial injustice highlighted by a new study into the experiences of Black and minority ethnic students at College.
Mandatory racial awareness training for all staff, the creation of a racial justice strategy for the institution and a review of how the College handles complaints of racism are among the steps being put into place to respond to issues raised by Insider-Outsider: The Role of Race in Shaping the Experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Students.
The candid report examines the experiences of Goldsmiths students who identify as BME in relation to the College and Goldsmiths Students’ Union.
The research highlights a number of challenges for both organisations and makes 18 recommendations for College to address these matters, with 13 recommendations for Goldsmiths Students’ Union.
In relation to the College, a survey informing the report found:
- 26% of study participants reported experiencing racism from students and staff members, including the use of racist language in learning sessions and in social situations
- 43% reported experienced racialized microagressions
- 28% of students believed their course content is representative of BME experiences
- 37% of students felt excluded from participating in university life due to racial discrimination
In relation to Goldsmiths Students’ Union, the report found:
- 51% believe the Union prioritises the needs, concerns and issues of BME students
- 54% believe the Union prioritises race equality
- 69% see the Union as being representative in their events
- There is a reliance on BME students to facilitate ethnic representation
The report was authored by HE race equality specialist Sofia Akel, with responses collected from students who identify as BME from a survey of 195 students, three semi-structured focus groups with 10 students and a further six semi-structured individual interviews. This constitutes around 5% of the 4,500 students at Goldsmiths who identify as BME.
Professor Elisabeth Hill, Deputy Warden and Pro-Warden Learning, Teaching and Enhancement responded to the report on behalf of the College.
Professor Hill said: “We recognise the importance of this work and welcome the candid insight it gives us into the experiences of Black and minority ethnic students at Goldsmiths.
“These findings are simply unacceptable and paint a clear picture which cannot be ignored.
“This report demands a response from everyone at Goldsmiths and illustrates the amount of work we must all undertake to address these vital matters.”
The College has this year taken a number of steps to address racial injustice at Goldsmiths. This includes appointing Dr Nicola Rollock to lead a project investigating the degree attainment gap at College, which will include an audit of how issues of race are understood and enacted across Goldsmiths.
College is also committed to meeting a number of recommendations made by the Insider-Outsider report through a range of initiatives. These include:
- Establishing a Racial Justice Action Group to oversee racial justice work
- Mandatory race-awareness training for staff, with pilot sessions for key groups
- A Race Equality Audit of the College and the creation of a racial justice strategy for the institution
- A task force reviewing how we handle complaints of racist and other discriminatory behaviour
The report comes after a 137-day occupation over racial injustice at Goldsmiths organised by campaign group Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action. A number of commitments made by College to this group correspond with recommendations made by the Insider-Outsider report.
See an update on the commitments the College has made to GARA.