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‘This should serve as a wake up call’: Wolverhampton Uni criticised for ‘racist’ clearing billboard

We spoke to Wolverhampton students campaigning against racism on campus

The University of Wolverhampton sparked debate around how universities market themselves today, following 'racist' clearing ads featured on billboards in the West Midlands.

The controversial poster, featuring a white girl in a white vest stood in front of black school children, advertises "If you want to explore new worlds. Start here."

Wolverhampton was attempting to advertise a BSc in Public Health, but many academics have openly protested this move, claiming the concept is disrespectful and has undertones of colonialism, patriotism and racism.

The Tab spoke to Sam, a second year student studying HND Construction & The Built Environment. He is central committee for UOW Stand Up To Racism, and believes billboards like this one could encourage racism on campus. He said: "As a student, and a white student at that, it makes me really uncomfortable. I feel for those directly involved."

Amy, another member of UOW Stand Up To Racism and first year Politics and Social Policy undergrad told us she "feels [the campaign] reflected badly on our uni. It also reflects badly on us, as our campaign has just properly begun and it makes it seem like the university are potentially blind to racism."

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University of Wolverhampton students protesting against campus racism

Meanwhile Connor, English Language second year, feels the poster shouldn't have been criticised so harshly. He said: "You've got to look at the poster within its context. It advertises the BSc Public Health course, which is a course focused on helping people. The girl in the poster is obviously there helping."

A poll run by the Express and Star found 80 per cent of its readers didn't find the poster offensive. Take our poll below to have your say.

The Tab spoke to Kieran, a Politics and History second year, who said: "It looked to me as if they had put no thought whatsoever into what they had created. I was pretty surprised that anyone had even thought of this, never mind approved it and allowed it to be displayed publicly.

"This should hopefully serve as a wake up call and ensure the university takes a more active stance against racism whether it is events like this done publicly or incidents on campus which have been witnessed."

Head of Marketing at the University of Wolverhampton, Raman Sarpal, said: “Every year the University runs numerous creative campaigns across various channels around the UK.

“Following careful consideration the decision was taken to withdraw this particular advert, which is part of a wider campaign, and the image has been removed.

“It was never the intention to cause any offence, but we take feedback like this seriously and listened to what people had to say.

“The University prides itself on having a diverse student body, of being inclusive and it strives to be representative of the community it serves.”

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