‘The university plays lip service to diversity’: Lancs students on the Uni’s BLM response
Students are accusing the uni of performativity
Lancaster students are criticising the University and LUSU’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement, accusing it of being “performative” and “passive”.
In response to the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, students have been anticipating their universities response to the ongoing situation. On #BlackoutTuesday, Lancs students were faced with a wall of silence.
We paused our normal content today to listen and learn instead. Here are recommendations our students have shared to support our understanding of Black Lives Matter via @LancasterSU https://t.co/NB8ZqkZbwn
— Lancaster University (@LancasterUni) June 2, 2020
On Wednesday the university claimed that they paused content to listen. However, with no Instagram stories until the Wednesday it was felt the silence was deafening, and simply not enough.
The Instagram stories that followed the wall of silence consisted of book recommendations explaining white supremacy, identity and race from the perspective of black authors. The SU recommended two books themselves and took suggestions from students, which was something, but not what would be expected of the International University of the Year.
In light of this, the Lancaster Tab spoke to students about how they felt about the universities response to the university.
“I feel like they’re just too passive on it, I wanna see something ACTIVE from the uni. I don’t care what it is but I haven’t heard anything from them and silence in the face of injustice puts you on the side of the oppressor and that’s that.
“To make more positive steps the uni need to just express that they acknowledge the injustices that our society is built upon and provide resources for people to educate themselves on it.”
“All I’ve seen in response to BLM from the university is a post on twitter for Blackout Tuesday and a few retweets, which feels very much like performative activism to me. It seems that they are doing the bare minimum so that they appear to be involved in anti-racism activities. They need to go much further than this and educate themselves as a university and us as a student body on the huge issue of systematic racism, not just in the US but in our own countries as well.
“I was expecting an email from my department or LUSU with useful links like protest information or petitions but I have received nothing. I have been surprised that the university have not donated to any causes. It is not enough to be performative. They need to actively promote anti-racism in their departments, on their campus and in their students all year round, not just for two days of the year.”
“My personal encounters with the university has not been great, I as a British student from an ethnic minority has had multiple racist instances with the university. I have emails suggesting I am an international student and how the university is going to pair me up with a study abroad person to help me transition into the UK.
“I’ve lived here all my life and they saw my name and assumed I was an international student. Furthermore, LUSU has one BME representative who is expected to be the only voice in an institution of predominantly white people. The university plays lip service to diversity we are all seen on marketing images but yet our voices are never heard. It’s a joke and time and time again people like the snowsports society get away with socials which perpetuate racism so do I really think the uni has had a profound response, no. Do I think the branding of the university is more of a priority for the university than the welfare of its student, yes.
“There needs to be an open dialogue between people of all walks of life we need to educate ourselves and amplify the voices of black people and ethnic minorities. Having these conversations is critical to our awareness and understanding and voices need to be heard. Education and action is necessary, people need to call out racism act the uni in order for true change to occur.”
“It’s easy to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ and have a couple of posts here and there. However, black lives matter are so much more than police brutality. It’s about the continuation of the civil rights movement. The continuation where we advance and enrich all black lives via: education, healthcare, employment and criminal justice and our basic civil rights and liberties. In addition to that, BLM is not a USA issue. It’s a global issue where systematic oppression exists.
“What the uni can do is to acknowledge the racial systematic discrimination it has. Through its curriculum, the way they handle welfare issues of BAME students, and the lack of representation of BAME students. What the uni needs to do, in order to be committed to “Black Lives Matter” cause is to evaluate on it’s own oppression and find solutions to fix it.”
“Another girl and myself applied to Lancaster and we both got conditional offers, before we had firmed it we were scared off by people saying that there was a lack of diversity, and we wanted to feel at home and represented at uni. Then we started seeing all the solidarity of the protests, the links to educate people and just the bottom line fact that you were not silent on an issue that affects both of us directly being black was heartwarming.
“It was reassuring that we had made the right choice and that Lancaster was ready to take a step on the path of change. We were just happy you guys didn’t stay silent, because staying silent is another form of injustice.”
“It felt like a strong allegiance had been built, to see the university responding to the ongoing problem in the UK.. with racism and contributing to the fight for anti-racism. The university is a big institution in an area which is predominantly white.
“This is an area where students and locals may lack acknowledgement of the racism that is still engrained within society. The university’s role is to educate predominantly younger people who will make a difference, so I’m glad that they’ve taken this responsibility.”
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