Sheffield student’s petition calling for race equality at uni nears 1000 signatures

The petition has 802 signatures and counting

A Sheffield student has called upon the University of Sheffield and VC Koen Lambert to actively engage in the Black Lives Matter movement and to ensure equality for BME students and staff. 

The petition, from Rebecca Ford, is an open letter credited to Edinburgh students, and outlines four aims for anti-racism work at the university.

Rebecca told the Tab Sheffield: “The university is taking anti-racism action, but I believe that moving forward more transparency is needed. The performative allyship which has been demonstrated by the university on its social media reveals a lack of understanding of effective online allyship.

“This should be included in the critical review of the Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan in the upcoming academic year, and all findings should be published on the university’s website and shared via social media.”

The letter’s first aim calls for the university to make a statement on its main platform on issues that are detrimentally impacting BME communities. 

It also calls for the university to provide a platform and opportunities for students in BME communities to post their articles and research on the uni’s social media.

The second aim asks to promote and establish an anti-racist culture, saying: “We call on the university to allow the formation of a student-led ‘Decolonise Curriculum’ group.

“This group would ideally work to identify instances of colonised course curriculum in our university and discuss ways to decolonise and diversify the teaching and learning which takes place.”

The third aim calls for a comprehensive zero-tolerance policy. It says: “There is no clear penalty for racist behaviour within the university. As such, the university needs to clearly inform students on the repercussions for race discrimination and racism on campus.”

The letter’s last aim is to create and support representation initiatives. This includes diversifying staff roles, creating and supporting initiatives for BME after enrolment, and establishing counselling services for BME students and staff. 

“We hope that this letter is the beginning of a large conversation that leads to the improvement of the climate at the university. As an educational institution, the uuniversity has a voice and a platform which it can use to speak out against injustice, should it choose to. We’re expectant that it will make the right choice.”

The University of Sheffield declined to comment.

To read and sign the full letter visit here.