Cambridge UCU Statement on Institutional Racism in Higher Education

Cambridge UCU stands in solidarity with staff and students who face deeply embedded and largely unacknowledged racism at the University of Cambridge. We stand with students and staff who have been working at every level to name and challenge the ‘demeaning environment’ and outright exclusion caused by institutional racism. Such effort to tackle racism is emotional labour and it is labour that has material effects: it comes at great personal and professional cost, and it is by and large carried out by BME members of the University who receive little recognition and sometimes active hostility. This is unacceptable. 

The University of Cambridge has a blatantly poor record of hiring BME Faculty members and some departments have actively resisted anti-racist strategies in recruitment, including willful ignorance of the University’s own positive action guidelines. So it is a great shame – and yet hardly a surprise – that an institution that prides itself on excellence ranks first in the number of official complaints about racism in the country.

Cambridge UCU calls on the University and its constituent colleges to stop minimising the numerous testimonies it receives about institutional racism and instead demonstrate a willingness to listen and act. The University must prioritise a commitment to anti-racist principles rather than the current mode of brand management that keeps institutional racism in place. As the University is on the cusp of submitting its application to the Race Equality Charter, Cambridge UCU rejects tick-box exercises and glossy stories celebrating ‘diversity’ and instead calls on the University to acknowledge that ‘inclusion’ cannot occur without transformation. 

Cambridge UCU