No blame attached

February 14, 2013

Regarding Anthony Wilkes’ response to my work on the black and minority ethnic attainment gap (“Blaming the victims”, Letters, 7 February): I need to clarify that my research does not “blame” BME students for their practices or place responsibility for their underachievement on them. Rather I have highlighted that too often BME students feel the need to develop alternative academic support because they are not receiving the help from lecturers that they should be getting.

I also argued in my presentation at the Society for Research into Higher Education conference in December that institutional practices need to change to meet BME students’ needs (“Black students loath to seek aid”, News, 24 January). Wilkes’ letter distorts the tone and content of my work.

Jacqueline Stevenson, Head, Centre for Social and Educational Research across the Life Course, Leeds Metropolitan University

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