Black students call for a voice of their own

A campaign has been launched by a group of ethnic minority students at Sheffield University who claim ‘institutional racism’ is ‘inherent’ within the organisation and its students’ union.

The #ITooAm Sheffield project aims to build on similar action taken at other major universities including Oxford and Harvard, which spotlighted the small proportion of ethnic students studying there.

The group is urging Sheffield University students’ union to create a specific role for an officer dealing with race issues, following the example of other campuses around the country.

A spokesman for the Black and Ethnic Students’ Committee said the aim was to highlight what it is claimed are ‘issues of institutional racism’ and to support minority students.

“Black and minority ethnic students at the university have long been a neglected group, and support and help for them is completely non-existent,” he said.

“We have started a campaign, supported by a large majority of black students, to have a full time students’ officer to deal with problems that still remain unaddressed by the union and by the university.”

The committee wants to see action on what it claims are increasing levels of racism and prejudice.

The group also wants to boost recruitment, and address high drop-out rates among ethnic minority students.

“We love Sheffield University, we admire our students’ union, but our campaign seeks to highlight how we are sidelined, disregarded and silenced,” he added.

A university spokesman said: “We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and nurturing a multi-cultural environment.

“We have robust procedures relating to harassment and complaints which we urge our students to use.

“If they prefer to contact the union to act on their behalf, officers are well placed to raise concerns.”