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Decolonisation begins with protecting BAME jobs, union warns

23 July 2020 | last updated: 24 July 2020

A report from the Higher Education and Policy Institute said that decolonising higher education is vital to tackling discrimination, hostility and unconscious bias in UK universities.

The report showed staff working in decolonisation were worried about the security of their job. One academic said 'it always will be women of colour, typically black women, who are going to be demonised the most'. UCU said that universities must protect BAME staff if they are serious about decolonising higher education.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Universities need to do more than pay lip service to tackling the structural inequality that stretches across our education system. This report demonstrates that there is much work to do to decolonise our institutions, and that this needs to be a responsibility shared by staff at all levels.

'UCU is ready to work with universities to progress this agenda, but it must start by ensuring BAME staff in academia are able to progress in their careers. We know these staff are currently more likely to be on the casual contracts most at risk of being cut as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Universities also need to do more to challenge the hostile environment and welcome scholars from the global south, including by paying visa fees and other immigration charges.'

UCU hosted a 'Decolonising our institutions' webinar yesterday looking at how we have to understand the links between the UK's imperial past and its corporatist present to liberate education.