The following statement was issued at 2.30pm on Friday 5 June 2020. For our original statement published at 6pm on Tuesday 2 June, please scroll to the bottom of this page.
You will all be aware of the significant events that have taken place this week in response to the killing of George Floyd. These events have had a significant and distressing impact on our black students and staff, and brought into stark focus the persistent presence and impact of racism in our global society.
We would like to take this opportunity to offer our support to all of our students and staff who are experiencing distress, anger and upset. We also recognise that racism affects many groups within society, and within the BME student and staff population, in different ways.
At the University, we have made a strong and meaningful commitment to inclusivity. The response that we have heard from our student groups this week has told us that we are not doing well enough to ensure that all of our students feel included or listened to, we have not been working quickly enough, and that we have not been open enough about the work that is already taking place.
We are very proud of the diversity within our student and staff populations across all of our global University campuses. We aim to embrace and celebrate this diversity. But we should also work to understand the different ways that our diverse population experiences life as a member of society, and recognise that world events will inevitably impact people differently.
It is the responsibility of all of us, no matter what our ethnicity, race or religion, to work together to understand how best to work to be anti-racist. We have supported our colleagues to ensure they take the time to listen to any concerns that staff and students raise regarding racism and inclusion, and to work together to build responses that are long-lasting and impactful.
In our response to an open letter which we received from a number of student groups, we have also outlined the actions that we have already been taking to support inclusion of BME students within our University, and we look forward to talking to students to focus on how we can do more. We have also published education and support resources which we hope can help you to learn what you can do to respond to the current situation, and to work in the future to confront and respond to bias and to discrimination.
It can be very easy to write words, and can be much harder to deliver actions. It is also important that we do not feel alone. One of the things that the past few months have shown us is that university is not just about being situated in the same place. It is about our community, and the people within it.
With our best wishes,
Professor Shearer West
President and Vice-Chancellor
Professor Sarah Sharples
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Find out what we’re doing next
Read our “You said, we will” action plan to see how your voices have influenced change.
Below are some recommended support and reporting services for those who have been directly impacted by ongoing events.
Read Professor Sarah Sharples' email to senior leaders.
UoN Counselling Service - provides one-to-one and group counselling for anyone struggling with mental health
Report Harassment - allows students to report incidents of racial harassment to the University
SARI – Stand Against Racism & Inequality provides support to victims of racism or any other hate crime
Stop Hate UK – provides support to victims of racism or any other hate crime
Report It – allows you to report racist hate crimes
BAATN – The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network is a psychological support collective aiming to address the inequality of access to services
Recommended reading and resources
For those of us who do not belong to the black community, it's time to listen and educate ourselves. Below are some recommended reading and resources. This is by no means an exhaustive list but will serve as a useful starting point.
Union Black: Britain’s Black cultures & steps to anti-racism
A short online course exploring Black British history, cultures and steps to anti-racism. Union Black is freely available to staff and students studying at any UK university. Enrol before Sunday 22 May 2022. To get started, visit the Santander Scholarship Platform.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Don’t Touch My Hair, by Emma Dabiri
Slay In Your Lane: the Black Girl Bible, by Elizabeth Uviebinené & Yomi Adegoke
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams
On Beauty and White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo
Many of the above fiction and non-fiction resources can be found on Libraries’ Black History Month reading list, along with many other titles.
Film and video
Urgency of Intersectionality TED talk by Kimberley Crenshaw
We need to talk about injustice TED talk by Bryan Stevenson
Empowerment as a Disabled Black Woman
BME Stronger Together video
I Am Not Your Negro
Dear White People
When They See Us
About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge podcast
The Diverse Minds podcast
40 Podcasts About the Black British Experience and Race in the UK
Google Drive resource bank
Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged, by the Equality and Human Rights Commission
The University of Nottingham’s response to Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged
UK Black Pride, blog by various contributors
Runnymede, a leading, independent race equality thinktank
Below are the original statements from the University of Nottingham and the University of Nottingham Students' Union, which were originally published at 6pm Tuesday 2 June 2020.
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham asserts our position of anti-racism and stands alongside our Black student and staff communities and networks. The horrific death of George Floyd in the USA and increasing number of instances of overt racism and discrimination against Black individuals has brought tensions into stark focus, and has caused considerable distress and anxiety. We stand firm against racism and violence both at our University, in the UK, and across the globe. We recognise that racism and discrimination have long lasting impact. As an organisation that values inclusion, we will continue to collaborate to challenge and proactively address systemic racism through initiatives like the Race Equality Charter. We are UoN and we will always be stronger together.
University of Nottingham Students’ Union
The University of Nottingham Students’ Union stand in full solidarity with the family, friends and community of George Floyd, who tragically fell victim to the horrific actions of law enforcement in Minnesota. George, just like many other members of the black community across the globe, was subject to actions of deep-rooted hatred, unfounded discrimination and racial prejudice, generated by a history of neglect, systemic oppression, and racism. George Floyd's death has brought attention to issues of inequality and racism which have significantly impacted the black community for generations. It is integral that we recognise that the current protests which we have witnessed in the media in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement are not solely the product of issues in the USA. Racism is systemic and present in our very own communities. We all have a part to play, a responsibility to act.