Guardian reveals extent of Oxford’s racism problem

Investigation places Oxford joint second highest for racism complaints

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University Camera Red Cliff Oxford

A recent Guardian investigation into racism in the university sector has Oxford joint second for racism complaints recorded over the past five years. 

Overall, Oxford recorded 39 official complaints, the same number as Cardiff. Only Cambridge, with 72 complaints, came higher. 

The process for reporting complaints is not consistent across all British universities, with some only recording complaints against staff or students but not both. It is not known how many complaints of racism have been made to the University unofficially. 

These results come in the wake of the recent access report, which showed a significant offer gap between UK applicants based on their ethnicities, which 25.5% of white applicants receiving an offer, compared to 15% of Asian British applicants and 17.8% of BME applicants overall. All college admit a greater proportion of white applicants than BME. 

A spokesperson for the University told Cherwell: “Student welfare is our number one priority at Oxford, and there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind. Excellence has no set race, background or gender and we are determined to build a more inclusive Oxford.

“We continue to make good progress towards this goal and are proud to be one of only 10 UK universities to hold a Race Equality Charter award. 

“Specific commitments include increasing the ethnic diversity of all categories of staff, stronger representation of BME staff in decision making at all levels, and improving the overall experience of BME students.”

This investigation comes as students at Goldsmith’s University in London enter the 17th week of a protest against institutional racism. 

Commenting on the figures, MP David Lammy said: “It is absolutely clear from these findings that many universities are not treating racism with the seriousness it deserves. If universities do not act fast to change the culture, form the lecture hall to the student union, talented students from BME backgrounds will continue to be locked out.”

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