Racial equality no longer a priority
Attempts to improve fairness for racial equality within university staff are no longer seen as a priority, according to Andrew Pilkington, professor of sociology at University of Northampton.
Speaking at the British Sociological Associations annual conference on April 13, he described efforts to amend problems with equal opportunities policies as having “fallen down the agenda”.
A decade ago, focus on this issue had greater legislative priority; the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 was implemented to amend racial inequality issues.
Fairooz Aniqa, Culture and Diversity officer for University of the Arts London, said on the matter: “In the UK out of 14,000 professors only 50 of them are black (this was the case a year ago at least).
“It’s a huge problem that the staff profile does not reflect that of the students. The university is doing a lot of research regarding this issue… and it does mean we need to undertake a long term culture shift and it is about starting with raising awareness amongst the staff and students.”
Multculturalism an inspiration
Catherine Harris, a BA textiles student at Chelsea College of Art and Design suggested that the students could directly feel the impact of this inequality.
“The momentum for change has gone and we can feel it day to day," she said. "I just wonder why this is no longer a priority, perhaps with the economic crisis people no longer deem it as important as other things.
“I suppose in lots of way people from different cultural backgrounds can give so much, especially to creativity and the arts. So much inspiration can come from people’s knowledge of their own cultures," she added.
“The students of UAL are so multicultural diverse, which is amazing, and from it we gain so much from sharing different viewpoints. Plain and simply, we should also represent everyone in our society, and this isn’t happening just yet.”