Here at uea(su), our campaign “Decolonise UEA” was implemented with the aim of tackling institutionalised racism at UEA.
The term decolonisation is used to describe how higher education has been heavily based on the histories and legacies of colonialism and racism; leading to structural inequalities which are still prevalent today.
There are several goals we want to achieve from this campaign:
dismantle hierarchical, opaque and undemocratic institutional cultures
diversify the curriculum
improve the representation of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) staff
steer meaningful interventions to improve the wellbeing and student experience of BAME students at UEA
Tackle the ‘degree awarding gap’ - specifically looking at and challenging the university on its practices and how it affects teaching and learning experience/outcomes of BAME students.
To achieve these goals, there needs to be a change within our curriculums; they need to evolve into a truly diverse, global curriculum with an accompanying anti-racist learning environment.
To truly decolonise UEA, changes need to extend further than just the curriculums. University services need to be designed with BAME students in mind and to better represent them at all levels of UEA as well as uea(su).
Ultimately, all BAME students should feel a sense of belonging here at UEA. All students should be a proactive ally for them; educating the wider student body about racism is important.
How can you get involved? Well! We hold several steering groups throughout the year to gather feedback from students of colour to ensure this campaign is reflective of what they want to see change at UEA. You can check out all our events for “Decolonise UEA” here. Recently, the Decolonise UEA society was also established meaning that we have a fantastic group of students actively advocating and championing our ambitions for UEA.
A final note is that if you experience or witness racism, it is important that it is reported. Alongside “Decolonise UEA”, we have our “Eradicate Hate” campaign for reporting hate crimes and incidents of racism. You can follow this link here to go to the Report & Support page to report any incidents you experience or witness.
Finally, in a time more than ever where we need to understand the importance of our words and actions, remember that it costs nothing to be kind.