The passing of May 25th marked the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a 46 year old black man, at the hands of those who were sworn in to ‘Protect and Serve’.
Not Long after the haunting video of Floyd’s death surfaced, activists around the world began to mobilise in a fight against systemic racism under the banner of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement.
Demonstrations against police brutality and racism engulfed America, and on May 31st the first Black Lives Matter protests occurred within the UK, taking place in Trafalgar Square.
Similar protests were held in various other cities including Lincoln which saw a turnout of around 500 people last June.
Black students spoke with courage and bravery to voice their concerns about systemic racism with many discussing their own experiences with racism within the city.
This united pressure led to a statement being made from the Student Unions Chief Executive, James Brooks, which was later found by the Lincoln Tab, to be copied from Essex University.
“It was just a disgraceful and embarrassing moment for, not just the SU, but the Uni as a whole. there was no justifying it then and no justifying it now” said Jorge Pastor, a third year student.
A sentiment echoed by Jake Howes, who described the statement as “disingenuous and a clear statement the uni did not care”.
The University quickly realised their mistake and issued an apology as well as a proposal of “five commitments towards Diversity and Inclusivity” which have since been announced as completed.
These commitments included appointing a BAME independent complaints officers, hosting BAME focus groups and introducing “compulsory unconscious bias and race equity training’ for all staff in the SU.
The focus groups consisted of BAME student representatives including BAME Officer, Sade Sekoni as well as both the President of the Jewish Society and ISA Officer.
Due to the discussions that have taken place within these focus groups, VP of Campaigns and Environment Bailey Marchant stated that the “SU will section a budget for various cultural celebrations in the upcoming year”
However students also voiced their concerns about the inaccessibility to hate crime reporting as well as the lack of Diversity and inclusivity within other societies.
We spoke to other minority students about whether they were aware of a place to report hate crimes on campus as well as steps they would like the University to take in further ensuring their safety on campus.
As you can see a lot of students are unaware of the newly appointed BAME complaints officer and where to find him with some stumped about where to go if a hate crime were to occur.
“They should make this information more readily available for students. Plaster it on the wall so everybody knows” said Jorge.
The SU aims to solve this issue by adding a link on their mobile app so students can quickly report hate crime.
It is clear to see a lot of steps have been taken to increase inclusion and diversity within the Uni however “more needs to be done” according to GM Singh Banga.
Students regularly recommended more contact with minority students as well as a higher budget for societies such as African Carribean Society in order to increase inclusivity on campus.
The University is yet to respond on how they plan on building on these existing commitments on diversity and inclusivity.
Although the first steps were satisfactory ones, it is clear that more definitive work needs to be done to ensure a BAME students feel included at the university.