Sussex continues to face online backlash for BLM statements, despite making two more

Students have expressed anger and disappointment over the university’s response to BLM.

It has been revealed that Sussex Vice Chancellor, Adam Tickell, made remarks last week suggesting that racial issues are not as prevalent here in the UK, compared to the US.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Undergraduate Education Officer Chris Harding revealed comments made by Adam Tickell, both over email and in Senate, which suggested that the UK does not experience the same racial issues as the US, nor was it built on cleavages of racial division.

In the Facebook post, Harding asked: “How on earth do you become a VC and make a statement like this?”

He continued: “To argue that Britain is not like America and was not founded on racism, slavery and colonialism is outrageous. ‘Modern’ Britain was founded off the back of colonised, enslaved and othered BAME/Black populations.

“How does Sussex claim to be a ‘radical University’ when our leaders are making statements like this. We need anti-racist training across the board and Sussex and we need real commitment to anti-racist action.”

These sentiments were echoed by Society and Citizenship Officer, Ijlal Soc-Cit Khalid, who stated: “How can you be a VC with such an ignorance to history and the role of the British Empire and its systems of slavery and colonialism, in laying the racist foundations of the modern world system.

“To argue that Britain is not like America and was not founded on racism, slavery and colonialism is outrageous.”

Following this online criticism, Adam Tickell has since released a public statement: “Although the USA is a very different country to ours, we would be deluding ourselves if we ignored the reality of structural racism in the UK. It persists in higher education too: although we have much to be proud of, we have much to work on too.”

He continued: “We all have a responsibility to address this and ensure we are free of racial injustice.”

Despite this, Sussex students and representatives remain displeased. In response to Tickell, Chris Harding wrote “The above statement only begins to deal with the issue, an apology must be made. However, the fact that this was a line our VC took shows how badly Sussex needs to diversify its leadership – I really do not think things like this would be said if there was actual BAME representation at the top.”

This comes after Sussex University faced criticism for their Instagram post, which originally acknowledged BLM as a BAME issue, and was later updated with an apology.

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