Accusations of racism have been made within Cardiff’s School of Dentistry
Students claim they’ve been subject to “racist behaviour and unconscious bias”
Dentistry students at Cardiff University have spoken up regarding the schools “racist behaviour and unconscious bias”. The letter specifically addresses not only the racist language that BAME students face, but also the wider institutional racism within the field of dentistry, citing that black patients are more likely to get a tooth extracted, rather than treated, compared with white patients.
This comes after the university released a statement following the death of George Floyd, saying that ‘racism and discrimination have no place in our modern society’.
A Cardiff University official has now responded to these accusations by saying they raise ‘a number of extremely concerning issues and alleged incidents’ and these will be taken ‘extremely seriously’. Going forward, the University will consider ‘the contents of the letter’ and assess ‘what action is required in both the immediate and long term’.
There has also been talks of creating an ombudsman position which will act as a point of contact for those who are being discriminated against. This aims to follow up each concern or complaint from students in a faster manner.
In a recent statement, the university urged students to contact the Disclosure Response Team, who deal with issues such as harassment, hate crime and sexual abuse. These issues will then be investigated by the university and can be submitted anonymously. They go on to offer various ways that students could ‘support race equality’, including a BAME+ book café, which ‘is an initiative aimed at supporting diversity, promoting an open and inclusive environment whilst building helpful constructions of the BAME+ student and staff experience’, as well as a Talking Race Equality Discussion Panel, which aims to promote ‘change in the cultural environment that reflects the diverse experiences of our staff and students, providing an essential safe space to hold vital conversations about race.’
The Vice Chancellor has recently spoken of his regret for “not having understood and acted on these issues earlier” and wishes to take advantage of the opportunity to initiate “real change”. This comes after backlash from the university’s statement on the death of George Floyd.