Oxford institutions are institutionally racist

I noticed this article in the Grauniad today, about a blind Ghanaian student dragged by his ankles from the Oxford Union chamber.  Having spent over 5 years working at the University of Oxford now it is my firm impression that the institutions of Oxford (particularly the Union and most of the colleges) are institutionally racist.  Aside from various news articles one can simply take a look at representation on the governing boards of the major colleges: does (e.g.) this look like a snapshot of modern Britain or an outwards-facing academic institution?  It doesn’t to me, and I live in one of the less diverse parts of the country (the Cotswolds)!  Neither the Union or colleges are controlled by the University itself, but they figure hugely in university life.  Membership and social success within a college opens a world of opportunities.  For instance, many professors will find their base University salary far too low to gain a foothold on the local property ladder, but their college may be able to arrange a special terms loan to help them with this.  So, although legally divorced from any control of these insitutions, the University surely has a moral obligation to have a loud and clear voice on these matters and make whatever political moves it can to drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Edit: There’s a petition on change.org that one can sign if interested.  NB: It’s a ballache to click through all the three stages of signing a change.org petition, but you don’t have to pay the suggested £2 (why would you?!) and you don’t have to share it on your social media (just click ‘continue’ at the bottom of the page).

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