King’s Senior Leadership Team Publishes Race Equality Statement
Titled ‘Race equality, racism and King’s,’ it states that the institution is ‘examining and challenging’ itself
The King’s Senior Leadership team published a statement on Friday regarding the work King’s aims to do in order to tackle institutional racism. The statement comes from a team including Principal Edward Byrne, Vice Principal International Prof ‘Funmi Olonisakin, and other senior administrative leaders.
The statement opens by saying that King’s is “acutely aware from the complaints, petitions, open letters, calls to action… of the need to listen to and engage our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.” It then goes on to mention the problems King’s needs to address including “increasing the ethnic diversity of senior leaders, supporting staff and students to identify and report racial microaggressions, and developing inclusive curricula.”
The statement then outlined the ways in which King’s is currently working towards race equality. This includes “launching the King’s Race Equality Network in 2019, working with the Guy’s Hospital charity which owns the statue of Thomas Guy, creating a ring-fenced fund for BAME students, ensuring Honorary degree holders, Honorary Fellows and Visiting Honorary Lecturers and Professors include men and women of colour.”
The full list of problems King’s is addressing, and steps the institution is taking to do so can be found below:
“We have clear problems that we need to address in terms of:
• Increasing the ethnic diversity of our senior leaders
• Supporting staff and students to sensitively discuss race and racism
• Supporting staff and students to identify and report racial microaggressions
• Continuing to close King’s BME attainment gaps and to develop inclusive curricula
We are not complacent but we can point to a number of programmes that are designed to tackle these stubborn issues while recognising that a change in culture and mindset is central to this:
• launching the King’s Race Equality Network in June 2019 and working more closely with them to inform our decision making at the highest levels & establishing the first King’s Race Equality Board to govern our progress towards race equality
• working with Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity, who own the statue of Thomas Guy, to find ways to reflect and represent its complex history appropriately
• creating a ring-fenced fund to support the development and progression of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic talent, including a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work with students and our community to explore King’s historical links to the colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade & commissioning research on King’s history with race and racism as well as uncovering hidden and erased contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people to our institution and disciplines such as Dr Harold Moody.
• implementing a series of recommendations outlined in the Bush House review
• ongoing work through Curriculum 2029, which sees programme content and teaching as a key driver of culture change and achieving inclusive education.
• ensuring our Honorary degree holders, Honorary Fellows and Visiting Honorary Lecturers and Professors include men and women of colour.”
The statement concluded by saying that the current pace of change is “too slow.” As an educational institution, King’s aims to “stand together to work in solidarity towards racial liberation,” and “do what we can to provide resources to centre these issues for our students.”