“Our black staff and students shouldn’t need a referendum”: UoL speaks out

The Students’ Union are holding a referendum to lobby the university to stand with the BLM movement

After recent events by the University of Lincoln’s Student Union, Lincoln has emailed all students addressing that they “don’t believe our black staff and students should have to lobby, or hold a referendum to see justice, or to have their voices heard.”

They went onto share their plans to stand and help Black students and staff at the University.

Decolonising the curriculum: 

“We have started work to decolonise the curriculum and to make it more inclusive. We accept the challenge that our staff should be more reflective of society at large and we will commit to ensuring our recruitment activities reach a wider audience and we aim to remove unconscious biases. We have already moved to anonymised applications but we will ensure we find and remove other barriers to employment found by BAME applicants. ”

Educational Resources on Black Lives Matter and the UK’s colonial History:

“The University Library has a longstanding reading list containing titles that challenge prevailing views about race and racism.  Thanks to the suggestions of a number of black students, and in response to the BLM movement, we have further developed that list to include more material around themes such as: black history; racism in politics; explaining racism to children; understanding whiteness and black feminism.”

“We are planning to develop a set of teaching resources to support these conversations in consultation with our students, and we expect to make this material available to all staff and students to facilitate open discussion. We will of course include the African Caribbean Society and other student groups in this work.”

Attainment Gap

“It is not acceptable that degree outcomes should vary depending on the colour of your skin and we are determined to reduce, and then eliminate, attainment gaps.  Our Lincoln Equality of Attainment Project (LEAP) was initiated 18 months ago. The project group includes staff and students from across the university and the Students’ Union, who are fully committed to this work. LEAP is collecting real life experiences from our students to help us get behind the statistics and understand the root causes of differential attainment.   We will commit to accelerating the progress of our LEAP work and to involving more staff and students in it.”


“The University recognises that in our society it is often more difficult for students from black or minority ethnic groups to be considered for graduate jobs.  We have and will continue to support our students to gain good employment.  Within our Careers and Employability Service we run initiatives such as “Breaking Barriers” which are bespoke activities aiming to help underrepresented groups of students into employment.”

A safe and responsive reporting framework

“The University does not tolerate racism, or the use of inappropriate language but we acknowledge racism does, sometimes, appear on our campus.  We will continue to commit to ensuring all identified incidents of racism are properly investigated and, wherever possible, to sharing the outcomes of these investigations with complainants.”

“We understand the desire contained in the petition to have greater access to CCTV footage when there are incidents on campus but the University cannot share CCTV footage with people, on request, as that would contravene the law and the policies we have in place to protect the privacy of people on campus.  However, the University is reviewing its CCTV policies and will ensure the updated policy continues to allow University-controlled CCTV footage to be made available to authorised persons charged with investigating allegations of racism.”


“We will review whether additional, mandatory, training is needed to ensure staff are able to support students, and each other, with sensitivity and care.  We wish to hear from our black and minority ethnic students and staff if they have ideas for improving our training for a largely white staff and student community.”

Posterity and a framework for future activism

“The University is putting in place new arrangements to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion has a higher profile across our entire community.  It is important groups, like the ACS and the BAME Network, feel empowered to hold the University and the Students’ Union to account. We welcome anyone who wishes to contribute to ensure we can challenge racism at the University, through these or other measures. Whatever the outcome of the Students’ Union referendum the University commits to continue its work to challenge and then stamp out racism in our community.”

The University has promised they “will continue to change, to get better. Every member of our community has a part to play in that change because, in the end, the University is one community and we must stand together.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘It’s like an invisible war’: Black students on life at a majority-white uni

“They’ve shot themselves in the foot”: Lincoln students on the SU’s BLM statement

‘The change starts with us’: We spoke to the BLM Lincoln protest organisers