Take racism seriously 1

March 4, 2005

Racism is a serious problem in higher education. The Association of University Teachers seems to share with universities a denial about its existence in the absence of "burning crosses" nailed to the office doors of ethnic minority staff ("'Isolated' black staff plan network to challenge union over race", February 25).

There seems to be no recognition of institutional racism or any commitment to opposing it by effective support of staff who are subject to it. The union has failed to seek specialised legal advice or to liaise with and use the resources of Racism Equality Councils. It makes one wonder whether ethnic minority academics need a separate organisation that would take their concerns more seriously. Given the level of institutional racism, it is a pity that the unions seem to be part of the problem rather than the solution.

S. Sayyid

Leeds University

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