We in the Department of American And Canadian Studies are appalled and outraged by the recent police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto, and the institutionalised racism and state violence which underly them.
The Department fully supports the Black Lives Matter movement in challenging all forms of racism. Moreover, we recognise that structural racism is a powerful force in the UK, attested to most recently by the state violence and neglect that led to the Windrush scandal and the deadly Grenfell fire. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated the structural inequalities faced by many minorities – most significantly Black, Asian and disabled people. Universities have a key role to play in combatting racism and all forms of discrimination.
We must therefore ensure that Universities and Departments are held accountable for all and any forms of racism.
As a Department, we very much aware that at this time words are easy and that real commitment is measured by actions. Echoing the open letter by the majority black student societies on campus, we therefore reassert our commitment to:
Pushing for a renewed institutional action to enhance diversity and inclusion by increasing BAME student and faculty representation across the University. This means investing more money and resources (material and human) to carry out a viable action plan, and work to achieve a broad consensus amongst students, academics and management. Prioritising the decolonisation of Nottingham's curriculum.
An enhanced University-wide focus on events celebrating Black History Month.
The adoption of new and transparent systems for measuring quantitative and qualitative data on diversity within the University.
An expansion of professional training for staff and student ambassadors on proactively facilitating conversations about racism inside and outside the classroom. The streamlining and promotion of processes for reporting and addressing incidents of racial harassment and abuse.
Posted on Friday 12th June 2020