Black Lives Matter – Department of Science and Technology Studies
12 June 2020
We in STS categorically affirm our support and solidarity for Black students and staff within and beyond the department. Black Lives Matter.
Dear Students and Staff,
We write to categorically affirm our support and solidarity for Black students and staff within and beyond the department. Black Lives Matter.
In the Department of Science and Technology Studies, we are appalled by the racist murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the US as well as the longer-term and on-going anti-Black racism embedded across institutions in the US. We recognise that anti-Black racism is also embedded in our society, culture and politics in the UK and that educational institutions like our own are not exempt.
We want to apologise for taking so long to send this message, we delayed writing it because we wanted to consult first with staff and students who have expertise in racial and social injustice, which we did today. We hope that having done this, our statement will be more meaningful, not just expressing solidarity but also making a commitment to take real action in our department. We appreciate that many of you have been taking part in the Black Lives Matter protests and anti-racist activism on a personal level and we wanted to share our departmental level response. For supporting us with their labour we are deeply thankful to the Decolonising STEM Collective and the UCL Union’s BME Students’ Officer Sandra Ogundele, as well as the staff involved. Speaking to them today has been a genuine education on the task that faces all of us in higher education to make the change that is needed for a fair and equal tertiary education system.
We recognise that our own privilege and resources must be used to actively support anti-racist practice, dismantling racism within and beyond the department. Specifically, in writing to you now, we reaffirm our commitment to anti-racist practice within our own department. We hear and appreciate that working to create safe, supportive, welcoming, respectful and rewarding experiences for Black students and staff in STS is crucial. We recognise too that much more must be done and commit to doing this work. Our equalities committee will have this as a highlighted focus this academic year and beyond.
Over the coming weeks, we will organise a safe, respectful space for students and staff within the department to share experiences of racist structural inequalities and their intersections with other forms of oppression within STS, as a way to find ways to move forward together. We will be in touch about that process very soon.
We will also commit to analysing the data in relation to Black and ethnic minority groups in our department across several areas, most notably in the recruitment and retainment of staff and students. We will also continue our ongoing work on diversifying the curriculum. All STS research events will continue to make it an aim to be inclusive and diverse in the range of participants.
While we are committed to learning from you, we are also committed to educating ourselves and recognise that it is not the job of Black students or staff to educate their peers. With this in mind, we will look at embedding this education and training into both our staff training and our research events. We are also committed to sharing what we learn with others, as part of our wider commitment to anti-racism and social justice within the institution and across higher education more broadly.
Please know that we recognise that recent events will be impacting Black students and staff disproportionately and we are here to support you. If you wish to talk to someone in the department or to discuss how we might dismantle racism within STS please contact Giuseppe La Rosa, Emma Tobin or Jon Agar. UCL can also provide support for students or for staff who have been affected by racism, either directly or in response to things such as the ongoing coverage of violence against Black people in America. We want any staff member or student who experiences racism within STS to know that they can discuss this with the Departmental Manager Giuseppe La Rosa or one of UCL’s Dignity Advisors.
Lastly, we would like to remind all of our students that if you experience or witness any instances of racial abuse at UCL, you can report them at UCL Report and Support or the UCLU Hate Crime Reporting Tool and that further guidance from UCL about race equality can be found at this link. We as a department will never tolerate racial abuse of any kind and we are committed to keeping STS a department that welcomes all equally and offers the same opportunities to everyone. Beyond these words, we vow to turn the words into actions and commit to exposing and changing the structural equalities that exist in STS.
We recognise that many of you will have been inundated with resources, but below you will find some resources that we hope you will find useful.
With care and solidarity,
Dr Emma Tobin & Professor Jon Agar (co-HoDs of Department, STS, UCL)
RaceMatters@UCL - a forum on race equality at UCL
Racial and Xenophobic Harassment – information on who to contact for support, advice and positive action
UCL Report+Support – tool to anonymously report bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct or to contact an advisor
Sarah Parker Remond Centre – Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation, which explores the impact of racism – scientific, metaphysical and cultural
B-MEntor Academic Mentoring Scheme – a cross-institutional mentoring scheme for Black and Minority Ethnic academics and researchers
B-Mentor Professional – a cross-institutional mentoring scheme for Black and Minority Ethnic staff in Professional Services departments.
UCL African Caribbean Society – A society for meeting new people, learning about African and Caribbean cultures
Fair Recruitment Specialist Initiative – a pool of highly-trained Fair Recruitment Specialists (volunteers from UCL) that can help Recruiting Managers with fair recruitment.
Stellar HE – an executive development programme for Black and Minority Ethnic staff aspiring to leadership positions in higher education (HE)
Black Mental health Charities
Black Minds Matter – an organisation designed specifically to help Black people get access to mental health services
Black Girls Camping Trip – is a non-profit organisation that creates tailored retreats for Black women in the UK.
The Black, African, and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN) – the largest independent organisation specialising in psychological services for people who identity as Black, African, South Asian, and Caribbean. They offer free, and reduced cost therapy.