Discussing Race in Education - Wolverhampton University

15 November 2017 | last updated: 16 November 2017

This was my first panel as the UCU NEC Black Members representative, and it was a great honour to be a part of an emerging force that Dr Obasi has been in getting this initiative to move forward.  There was a real sense that UCU could do much more for their black members, and I have taken this on board and have already spoken to our Equality officer in ensuring that we can capture the momentum, and ensure that our members have the equity and opportunities made available to their white counterparts. 

UCU have moved forward in their focus to have the voices of black members heard, and this year have the Black Members Conference focuses on 'Getting Organised', which, again is a definite step in the right direction.  However, we can do much more, and should do more.  I am hearing that individuals are having the same negative experiences relating to being overlooked for promotions when it is clear that they are more than qualified. In FE, we are very limited with statistics relating to the progression of black members and are currently working with UCU national office to obtain the relevant data.  Our HE information relating to black members is much more available, and has been used to highlight disparity between our white racialized colleagues. 

It was mentioned that there should be some form of training available for staff to address unconscious bias, which is an area that needs to be brought to the attention of all individuals working within a FE or HE institution.  Ultimately, it is only by working together that we will ever be able to challenge and dismantle the prejudice and discrimination that is faced by many of our brothers and sisters. I would urge you all to take active roles at your branch, and if you feel you are being marginalised, contact your regional office or me.  I did want to end on a positive note, but feel that I do need to mention the racial attack on a member, during the meeting, from one of her own colleagues. I found this shocking, and was left in a state of disbelief at what I was hearing.  If such overt attacks are taking place in an open forum then I would ask that they are reported and investigated as a matter of urgency.

 

Nita Sanghera

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