It’s been a whirl-wind rollercoaster of a term (what’s changed?)! There have been many highs, and lows as a student and SUARTS LCC Officer. At times I feel I’ve taken on more than I can chew, but when I see the final outcome, the difference it’s making in not just my student life, but other students… It starts to feel worth while!
The SUARTS team caught up with me to ask about my term and what I’ve been up to as LCC Officer…
What was your highlight of the term? Hearing about UAL So White campaign #UALSoWhite which started last month in homage of other organisations like the Oscars and Brits (#OscarsSoWhite and #BritsSoWhite) being called out for lack of racial diversity. Also being awarded a student-staff collaboration fund to organising “Diversity Matters Awareness Week: Let’s Talk About Race” which takes place in April. It’s important the discourse around BAME attainment and retainment is centred around both students and staff, so this event is very important as it shows solidarity with marginalised staff who also aren’t being represented. Find out more at www.diversity-matters.org.uk
What was your lowlight? Lack of support to reach students most in oppressed by race matters in UAL. Being in a University made of of 6 colleges, it’s very difficult to share and be aware of initiatives happening in LCC – let alone across UAL, which can empower marginalised students. There needs to be better ways to get the information/opportunities across to ALL students – not just selected few.
Who was your hero / heroine of the term? Bee, SUARTS Education Officer and Founder of Black Blossoms. She’s amazing, supportive and powerful in her actions and words. She’s advocates for feminism and on BAME/race matters – something the Uni and SUARTS are working on fully addressing (I hope!)
What has been the biggest challenge so far? Understanding how deeply rooted institutional racism is. As a “black woman” – I am expected to fail! I’m already in their statistics for BAME students who won’t finish their students or get a decent grade. Having a voice to question this, is the biggest challenge so far. What are the structures being put in place to support students, particularly BAME students showing poor attainment and retainment rate? It’s like saying “no more!” to an evil master you’ve been serving all your life. It takes guts to speak up. However building a network of support from others doing the same is what makes the struggle worthwhile.
What has been your biggest win so far? Extended Library hours thanks to the Sabbs, and challenging the Uni and SUARTS on the lack of BAME people in their promotional materials for opportunities (MAiL, Arts website, panel events) etc. If BAME and other marginalised groups (LGBTQ, Women, Disabled, International) students aren’t seeing themselves reflected in such opportunities, the attainment gap won’t get any smaller and only “privileged” students get to know of, and win, such opportunities.
What’s your top priority for Summer Term? Get marginalised students thinking about employability! The start of summer is always a good time to think about money – and how we can earn some! There’s so much talent produced from LCC students – we can build a platform to promote it, which could give us ahead start on the careers ladder!
I’d love to have your feedback and suggestions. You’ll find LCC Officer posters on the SUARTS Board by the SU officer in LCC (near the Dark room bar) where you can leave your feedback etc. Also feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kai – LCC Officer and Diversity Matters activist x