Black Lives Matter
8 June 2020
The UCL Institute of Education believes Black Lives Matter.
To our Black staff and students, we recognise your pain, anxiety and strength of feeling, as well as the disadvantages you have experienced, and we are grateful that you remain part of our community. As an educational organisation, we are committed to learning from you so that we can do better in the future, but also recognise that it is our job to educate ourselves, and not yours to do this for us. We are also committed to educating others about these issues, which we recognise to be a vital part of our social justice mission.
We know that white privilege exists, and that this is reflected in the profile of staff who reach senior positions in our own organisation. We will work to change this. We have started, for example, to extend our use of Fair Recruitment Specialists on appointment panels, and will continue to monitor and address intersectional injustices through our Athena Swan action plan. This has shown, for example, that Black women’s experiences of promotion have been disproportionately negative. We have also begun work to address systemic racism in education and society, for example, by improving our own practices though engaging with the BAME Awarding Gap Project and acting on its recommendations, and also in our research, by supporting work that investigates racism in education and society, and advocating for its wider use. But it is also vitally important that we address the specific issues raised by Black Lives Matter as they affect our students and staff. We commit to working on a more considered response to this as a priority.
We recognise that structural inequality manifests itself not only in visible ways, but also in the circumstances of our everyday working lives. We want to make sure that staff and students at all levels of the organisation are comfortable to discuss and address these issues, but also recognise that such conversations involve very unequal degrees of risk for different people. We want to minimise the emotional and other forms of labour faced by our Black staff and students as we move forward, and recognise that it is our job to make sure that your voices are heard.
Most of all, please know that if the toll of recent events is making it more difficult for you to work or study in what are already very challenging circumstances, we are here to support you. No-one should have to put up with racist comments or actions, but we understand that Black members of our community have put up with this throughout their lives. UCL can provide support for students or for staff who have been affected by racism, either directly or in response to things such as the ongoing coverage of violence against Black people in America. We want any staff or students who experience racism within the IOE to know that they can discuss this with their department’s Inclusion lead, or one of UCL’s Dignity Advisors.