UoM SU calls on Uni to do more in support of Black Lives Matter

The SU has published a list of 8 demands

The University of Manchester SU has called on the university to demonstrate a commitment to Black Lives Matter “not just through words, but through action.”

The SU published a list of 8 demands on Tuesday, which they have stated are “the demands of staff and students of the University, agreed upon through extensive consultation and collective discussion, through groups such as UCU, Race Roots Resistance, Decolonise UoM, and Diversity & Inclusion Ambassadors.”

Sara Khan, SU Liberation & Access Officer, on behalf of the SU Executive Team, said to The Manchester Tab: “If the Fossil Free UoM campaign is anything to go by, we have what it takes to win if we keep fighting.”

This comes following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota over two weeks ago, which has caused a surge in support for BLM. There has been an outbreak of demonstrations across America, and the world. These demonstrations are protesting the systematic discrimination and racism towards black communities globally.

The SU’s list of demands are as follows:

1. That Black Studies degree programmes and modules are developed and fully funded by the University of Manchester, taking inspiration from Birmingham City University.

2. That the University invest in hiring more Black academics, and invest in new hires in the area of Black Studies and critical race approaches to traditional disciplines.

3. That the University create more disciplinary and school specific bursaries and grants (following the example of Black Lawyers Matter) targeted at Black students in areas in which they are historically underrepresented, for example, Social Sciences.

4. That the University radically reform its hate crime reporting procedure, which provides minimal support and is often re-traumatising for students, in collaboration with student and staff groups such as Diversity & Inclusion Ambassadors, Decolonise UoM and Race Roots Resistance. This procedure should take a restorative justice framework and be built by students and staff of colour, by themselves, for themselves.

5. That the University funds research into the history of alumni and other donors with commercial, financial and familial links to slavery and other colonial exploits.

6. That the history of British colonialism and its relevance to the development of modern British economic, political, social and cultural institutions – including our Universities and all disciplines studied within them – should be incorporated into our curricula throughout the University of Manchester.

7. That the University develop a tangible and time-specific plan to eliminate the ethnicity pay gap once and for all.

8. For the University of Manchester to donate £50,000 to the Free Black University Fund, an initiative to create a free, accessible, anti-colonial education which aims to re-distribute knowledge, and to create transformative knowledge in the Black community.

Sara Khan also said to The Manchester Tab: “We know that the University will not give into our demands right away.

“The COVID crisis will serve as an excuse not to donate to the Free Black University, for example, though alumni donations amounting to £1mil were raised in a week for student hardship funds. However as staff and students at the university we will continue to push for these demands until they are met, as long as it might take.

“If we work together and make our voices heard, we will achieve this.”

In response to the SU’s demands, Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility, said: “As an institution, we share the horror that many of our colleagues, students and alumni feel about the killing of George Floyd. We condemn all racist violence and oppression and recognise the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The tragic events in question again show how deep racial inequality and discrimination continue to be, not just in the United States, but in here in the UK as well. That is why we are committed to researching and teaching about social, historical, economic and political inequalities.

“We have published a detailed statement on the actions we have undertaken, but we know we can always do more and will continue to have an open and honest dialogue with the Students’ Union, and other relevant parties at our University about the best ways we can do this.”

Featured Image: Vita Student on Flickr. Licensed by Creative Commons.

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