Call for University of Southampton to take greater action in Tackling Racism and Diversity

Call for University of Southampton to take greater action in Tackling Racism and Diversity

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Jasmine Phipps started this petition to Mark E Smith and

The University of Southampton is not innocent when it comes to issues of racism and diversity within its institution. It is not enough for them to make a post on twitter or on the university page by simply stating they are against racism and racial inequality, they need to be transparent with their students and show they are taking active steps to prevent racism within their institution. There needs to be further investigation of unconscious bias within all facilities held at the university, including the support and wellbeing institutions that provide support for black people and people of colour.

Mayflower FC Incident

Following the incident from last year in which students who were members of Mayflower FC were recorded chanting a racial slur ("there was one naked n***** on the bus") on a bus. The university concluded their investigation with the statement “The investigation has concluded that the racist word was not used, and the students were actually singing the nickname of one of the team members.” However, many students, including myself believe that a racist word was used and that the university should acknowledge what was said and should ensure that there are consequences for all the students involved in the chant, as they represent the university and if these students, who represent the university suffer no consequences, the university is effectively saying that it is ok for those who represent them to use racial slurs.

https://thetab.com/uk/soton/2020/06/04/actions-speak-louder-than-words-soton-students-on-the-unis-blm-response-84308

Race Equality Charter

The university briefly mentioned in a comment below their tweet for #blm, a link to an article showing that they have signed the race equality charter and have applied for a bronze award as part of this. However, it is worth noting that they signed this charter in 2018. Rather than briefly mentioning this below a tweet, as a student of the university, I would like to receive communication outlining the exact plans for how the university aims to achieve this as well as how they are planning to consider the voices of black and people of colour students as part of this improvement. As a university, it is key that as part of addressing the racism within their institution, they must also address how unconscious bias causes discrimination in their institution. This does not just mean as part of marking exams and hiring new employees; this should extend to educating their staff on how to avoid unconscious bias when teaching students. I have linked a website which details this further below.

https://neuroleadership.com/

The university also needs to address the extent that many of their courses are Eurocentric. I know that myself and other students have felt that our courses are designed so that we only really learn about Europe and America, and if other countries are mentioned, it is only briefly. Yet we all know that the world is about so much more than Europe and America, so why do we not have opportunities to learn about it as part of our education in Southampton? Therefore, decolonising the curriculums is an essential part of the process of creating beneficial change.

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/shine/charter/index.page

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/diversity/news/2018/03/8-race-equality-charter.page

Zero Tolerance

As a result of the universities' insufficient response to racism cases that have been reported by black people and people of colour students, many cases of racism have gone unreported. The university should also have a clear, zero-tolerance policy toward students/staff who commit racist acts. If they want to claim they are supportive of Black Lives Matter, it is not enough to just tweet about it or make a statement about it on the university page; they need to take active steps to reduce racism and encourage diversity within their institution. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2019/jul/05/which-uk-universities-have-received-racism-complaints

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/oct/23/universities-must-stop-covering-up-racism-in-order-to-protect-their-own-reputations

This petition was created by Jasmine Phipps and Mehret Ashenafi. 

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