Held on Thursday 25 October at the Regent Street campus, the panel included Professor Roland Dannreuther, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience; Claire Herbert, previously Race Equality Charter Manager for the Equality Challenge Unit; Dr Akile Ahmet, Lecturer in Sociology of Race at Middlesex University; Westminster undergraduate Psychology student, Karl Donaldson, and Dr Jason Arday, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of Roehampton.
Moderated by Professor Dibyesh Anand, Head of the School of Social Sciences and Chair of the BME Staff Network and Lubaba Khalid, BME Officer for the Student’s Union, the panel mentioned the importance for universities to help students and staff develop a sense of belonging while becoming more accountable and transparent on this issue. The discussion was covered by the University of Westminster Students’ Union radio station, Smoke Radio.
On a national level, the attainment gap is wider for a first-class degree classification than at 2:1 level. It was recognised that bias in teaching and ‘Whiteness of the curriculum’ continue to exist, not only within Higher Education but also in primary and secondary schools, as well as in early years prior to starting mainstream education.
The discussion included topics around Black-British academics and students. The BME attainment gap is linked to the significantly limited number of Black-British professors in academia, with only 19 Black female professors actively teaching in the UK.