Open letter to Adam Tickell addressing racial inequality

It has received over 500 signatures already.

Amidst the tragic murder of George Floyd and the protests and riots it has provoked as people everywhere decide to go about demanding change for the better in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement, some Sussex students have written an open letter to Vice-Chancellor Tickell.

The letter initially addresses the University’s lack of communication and acknowledgement of the recent violent events targeting black Americans. The letter criticises the way that the UEG banned individual Schools from releasing statements to do with these events due to their ‘political nature.’ The failure to speak out goes against Inclusive Sussex, the University’s equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy.

The letter goes on the urge the University to take an actively anti-racist stance, especially during a time where the Black community is under attack and Black students and staff could do with support from the University. The letter recognises that it is not just in America, but also in the UK, that racism and white supremacy are still very real issues.

The letter goes on to urge the University to acknowledge the racism that occurs on campus and to listen to Black and other students of colour and their experiences of this. Now more than ever is the time to act to work for sustainable change.

The letter sheds light on alarming statistics reflecting the lack of racial equality and diversity, stating: “The University of Sussex has a 26% awarding gap between white and Black students and only 2.2% Black academic staff and 0 female Black professors.”

The letter concludes with a list of demands for the UEG to take the following actions:

  • Make a public anti-racist statement in line with their REC commitment and Inclusive Sussex policies
  • Publish a clear list of actions the University is intending to take to address the race inequality at Sussex, including but not limited to:
    • Increased mental health support for Black students and staff
    • Improve recruitment practices to ensure more equitable opportunity for Black applicants
    • Putting funds towards decolonising the curriculum
    • Employ year-round BAME Ambassadors in all Schools
    • Make training on cultural competency and race equality mandatory for all staff
    • Dedicate more staff administrative time to race equality work in Schools

The purpose of the letter is to urge our University to do more and do better to make our learning and living environment and community a place that keeps everyone safe and supported.

Sign the letter here.