• Monday, November 28, 2022

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Dundee University principal apologises after survey shows rampant racism

Representational image by iStock

By: Pooja Shrivastava

THE principal of Dundee University has formally apologised after a report into racism found “prominent concerns” over discrimination.   

Professor Iain Gillespie said sorry for the bigotry faced by the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community in a video released on Monday (7). He said he was apologising “on behalf of the university to every member of our community who has been a victim of racism while living and studying here.”    

“It is unacceptable in our society that people should experience this, and we must show zero tolerance of such attitudes and behaviour,” he said.   

A total of 876 staff and 506 students participated in the survey, with 17 per cent of staff and 33 per cent of student respondents identifying as BAME.  

About 24 per cent of BAME students and staff said they had witnessed or experienced racism on campus, a figure which rose to 34 per cent for the whole city of Dundee. In contrast, 10 per cent of white students said they had seen or suffered racism on campus, and 11 per cent off-campus. 

The report also contains responses from white students, one of whom told surveyors: “This is Dundee. This is Scotland. Everything should be taught from OUR perspective.”

“If Africans and Asians don’t like it, they can go somewhere else.” 

Gillespie said in his apology video that the report “makes for disturbing, shocking, and uncomfortable reading.” 

Professor Hari Hundal, the report’s lead author, acknowledged it was difficult to discuss race and many white staff and students don’t recognise their privilege. His team found “many white respondents displayed a lack of awareness of race and cultural issues that impact their BAME colleagues, with a small minority expressing prejudicial and intolerant views of those whose heritage was non-white”.

Responding to the report, Dundee University has said it will review complaints procedures for people alleging racism, provide more “unconscious bias” training, review academic reading lists to help decolonise its programmes, and provide more courses on racism.

 

 

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