On Sunday June 5, UK academic AC Grayling announced a new 'elite' university in the UK set to rival Oxford or Cambridge. Touting itself as an 'elite' educational institute, the university announced its faculty roster: which included not a single woman or ethnic minority.
While said to be a means of protecting social science and humanities education in the midst of the cuts to education spending, this venture will only be run 'for profit' and charge students up to £18,000 a year in fees.
Not only does this new school actively promote elitist education for those who can afford it, it makes an old-fashioned and bigoted statement about who holds knowledge in our society: namely white, affluent men.
England, the UK and Europe is full of bright, dynamic and supremely important academics made up of all backgrounds and genders.
Lets send the New College of Humanities a message: we don't want your inflated, expensive degrees and we want our teachers to reflect the richness and diversity of the UK experience.
Not only is this university charging double the current rate of tuition in the UK, something many bright and talented young people will struggle to afford, it appears to actively promote this elitism: that the best education should not go to the brightest, but to the richest.
Furthermore, newspaper articles made mention of not a single female or ethnic minority academic faculty member - an oversight I hope you will quickly address. The UK is home to some of the brightest and best academic minds in the world and this group compromises not only men and women, but also people from diverse backgrounds including ethnic minorities.
We are calling on you, all financial backers of this university and the board of directors to immediately:
- conduct an immediate gender and diversity analysis of all plans to ensure that the faculty and student body have equitable and fair representation
- make more scholarships available to people without the financial means to attend your new institution