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Report finds high levels of discrimination in colleges and universities

4 February 2016

Nine out of ten (90%) black staff members report having faced barriers to promotion in colleges and universities, says a UCU report released today.

The  survey of 631 black union members [132kb] working in post-16 education also found that over two-thirds (71%) said they had 'often' or 'sometimes' been subject to bullying and harassment from managers.

UCU has called on colleges and universities to take a more proactive approach to tackling discrimination and racism in the workplace.

As well as identifying key problems in the workplace, the report looks at ways to try and overcome them. When asked to grade the most effective measures to challenge racism out of a list of seven, "effective sanctions against perpetrators" was the one respondents thought would be most effective. Next was "improved support for black staff", followed by "training for senior staff". The measure deemed to be least effective was "the formation of a black staff group".

The report is published ahead of a national day of action against workplace racism, organised by UCU, on Wednesday 10 February when union branches will hold events in workplaces and encourage members to share their experiences. The union will also release the film 'Witness', which documents the experiences of black members in colleges and universities.  

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It's clear that too many institutions, be it through caution or complacency about discrimination and racism, have not made any structured attempts to monitor or investigate what's happening on the ground. Of course they are well aware that black staff are dramatically under-represented at higher levels but for too long they have let it slip under the radar.

'Our survey shows that people want leaders within the sector to take a more proactive role, and I include UCU in that task. All institutions must be prepared to radically examine their structures, policies and procedures and make changes.'


Last updated: 4 February 2016