‘Racial trauma’ to be recognised as grounds for self-certified extensions at Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths is set to become the first uni to include racial trauma as an official category in assessment mitigation

Goldsmiths University has “noted the intention to include racial trauma” as an official reason for extensions in extenuating circumstances.

Updated guidance on this category for students and staff will be provided in time for the new academic year.

Goldsmiths will be the first institution to formally recognise racial trauma as an official category within applications for extensions.

Following a campaign by the university’s Students’ Union, Goldsmiths has shared plans to include “racial trauma” in the categories of “serious life events” for students requesting extra time.

Frances Corner, the warden of Goldsmiths, said: “This change relates to our extenuating circumstances policy, which enables students to ask us to take into account serious life events when assessing their progress with their studies.

“Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, with the college committed to providing the best possible support to each of our students.”

Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students, applauded the move: “For far too long, black and brown students have had to relive their trauma in front of decision-makers, who often have little to no understanding of racial trauma themselves.

“This win by Goldsmith students’ union is a win for all campaigns to decolonise education. It is one cornerstone of the end of universities’ complicity in racial violence, as it sets a precedent for institutions across the country.

“Many universities published empty platitudes of support during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. A year on, we must see tangible action. Institutions must tend to the welfare of students and staff of colour who are exhausted by racism, day in and day out.”

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