Oxford graduates establish black alumni network

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A group of black Oxford graduates have set up a network to encourage more black teenagers to apply to Oxford.

The Oxford Black Alumni Network, which has over 200 members, also aims to alleviate the lack of black people in high-profile jobs.The network states that it is aware that “many negative perceptions persist about accessing and studying at the University of Oxford and other elite higher education institutions… [and] are determined to work against the disadvantages that hold many back.”

Naomi Kellman, the network’s co-chair, who graduated with a PPE degree in 2011, said: “There is still a concern among black students that if they apply they might be the only one — they might think Oxford is not for ‘people like me’.

“But we want to show that’s not true. There is a long history of black students at Oxford doing well and being happy.”

Samuel Gebreselassie, another PPE graduate said: “By increasing the visibility of role models for younger people, we hope this campaign will demonstrate that Oxford is a place where people from diverse backgrounds can belong and thrive.”

In 2016 only 45 offers were made to black students out of around 3,200 undergraduate places – a proportion of 1.4%.