UCL News


UCL stands in support of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and staff around the world

2 June 2020

UCL supports our students and staff who are calling on us to lead the way in addressing racialised injustice and disadvantage.

UCL Portico

Appalling recent events in the US have shone a clear light on racialised inequality and injustice. UCL supports our students and staff who are calling on us to lead the way in addressing racialised injustice and disadvantage. We offer our full support to our black, Asian and minority ethnic students and staff, in the US, the UK and around the world.

UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur said: “UCL was founded to be a place where everyone could find a home regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or faith. Any form of discrimination is absolutely opposed to our values wherever it takes place in the world. We stand in solidarity with our BAME students and colleagues. Each of us must understand how racialised privilege operates in our society, including at UCL, and to be bold in calling it out.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted racialised inequalities in the UK. According to the ONS, Covid-19 deaths are four times more likely among black adults than those of white ethnicity in the UK. This cannot just be explained in terms of health inequalities, but must also be understood in the context of interdependent economic and social inequalities in which structural racism plays a part.

UCL’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team are currently working at speed on an institutional plan for 2020-21 and it will include specific action on racial equality in the context of coronavirus. The plan will also be a pledge – we pledge to ensure that we will not allow COVID-19 to unravel the progress we have been making. Our areas of focus will be:

  • Ensuring fair admissions to UCL in the context of school closures and exam disruption and the disproportionate impact on disadvantaged pupils, including those from BAME  backgrounds
  • Supporting staff to deliver an excellent and fully inclusive educational operating model next academic year
  • Creating a sense of belonging for our most marginalised and under-represented students
  • Working with teaching teams so that we maintain our focus on closing the attainment gap between BAME and white students as we deliver teaching in  new ways
  • Understanding hardship (including digital poverty and financial struggle) to enable more targeted support interventions

A great deal of activity has already taken place in the past year on the BAME degree awarding gap and we will accelerate this work through the provision of dedicated funding. 

UCL has also recently submitted an application for the renewal of UCL’s Race Equality Charter, working closely with Students’ Union UCL. This involved extensive analysis of all functions of UCL to understand where racialised inequities are present and the creation of an honest, self-reflective narrative and ambitious 3 year institutional action plan to address inequities.

In a statement, the UCL Race Equality Steering Group, said:  “The UCL Race Equality Steering Group are appalled at the killing of George Floyd.  This killing is serving as the tipping point after a series of race related incidents in the USA.  We believe that race relations worldwide have been put into sharp focus by this tragedy and sincerely hope that George Floyd’s death will serve to make people think about the harmful effects of discrimination and its attendant segregation.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with George Floyd’s grieving family and shoulder to shoulder with all ethnic minorities around the globe as they battle with marginalisation and segregation.  Divisive rhetoric has no place in the current situation.  We hope that the law will take its course in response to this killing.  We believe that now is the time for society to think about real change.  We all deserve nothing less.”

UCL is here to support any member of our community affected by recent events in the US, or by racism in any form. Any member of our community who would like to talk to someone in confidence can contact our CareFirst. We also encourage anyone who has witnessed or experienced racial harrassment or abuse at UCL to report it through Report & Support including anonymously.