UCL releases statement supporting BAME staff and students

The statement by UCL was in response to the creation of a letter by UCL students calling on Academic Institutions to recognise the death of George Floyd.

Today, UCL realeased a statement supporting “Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and staff around the world”. This broke their silence on the murder of George Floyd which, alongside other recent events, has highlighted the issues of injustice and discrimination BAME groups face globally.

The statement was a response to a letter by UCL student Dom Borghino which demanded recognition of the murder of George Floyd from academic institutions world wide. The template was shared by UCL societies and students and the pressure from such mass action led to rapid results.

In their response UCL stated that the:

“Appalling recent events in the US have shone a clear light on racialised inequality and injustice. UCL supports our students and staff who are calling on us to lead the way in addressing racialised injustice and disadvantage. We offer our full support to our black, Asian and minority ethnic students and staff, in the US, the UK and around the world.”

Adding to this, UCL President & Provost Michael Arthur said:

“UCL was founded to be a place where everyone could find a home regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or faith. Any form of discrimination is absolutely opposed to our values wherever it takes place in the world. We stand in solidarity with our BAME students and colleagues. Each of us must understand how racialised privilege operates in our society, including at UCL, and to be bold in calling it out.”

UCL also addressed how the Covid-19 pandemic has “highlighted racialised inequalities in the UK” which “cannot just be explained in terms of health inequalities, but must also be understood in teh context of interdependent economic and social inequalities.” And stressed that UCL’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team’s institutional plan for 2020-21 “will include specific action on racial equality in the context of coronavirus” and will “pledge to ensure that we will not allow COVID-19 to unravel the progress we have been making”.

You can read UCL’s full statement here.

Dom, one of the creator’s of the letter which sparked UCL’s response, said:

“I’m so grateful for everyone who took the time to get involved, and this statement should prove to people that holding organisations to account can get results.

“I’m impressed by the statement from UCL which looks genuine and in-depth, beyond merely commenting for the sake of good optics. I’m hopeful that this will spark a change in the way UCL operates for the benefit of Black people and other POC in the future.

“It couldn’t have been done without a lot of help from everyone who took part, so I hope everyone who got involved feels as proud of the achievement as I do.”

Numerous students and societies played a role in spreading the template via social media, making it clear that this is an issue which everyone can raise awareness on.

Co-creator Afiya explained the significance of UCL’s response:

“Today marks the start of progress and change. Today marks the acknowledgement of struggles faced by black students and the urgency required to address them. Today, UCL has publicly made a stand with its BME students and said ‘we will not let you down’. I can’t help but feel more hopeful about what is to come for the next generation of students the institution is behoven to serve.”

UCL’s response to pressure from students has proved that even if you can’t attend protests to show your support for the BLM movement you still have the power and responsibility to ‘donate, educate and demonstrate’.