Sensing bias

November 19, 2015

We hear that David Cameron has asked Ucas to make university applications “name-blind” to avoid bias against black students (“On improving diversity, the sector has a clear choice: lead or be led”, Leader, 5 November). Some institutions also interview students, and this gives other opportunities for bias. Therefore, to “blind” the interviewer, we suggest the following rules are needed:

  • The student’s skin should be covered by suitable clothes and gloves, and a paper bag should be placed over their head. Ideally, the interviewer should also be “bagged up”
  • To avoid any accent being detected, the interview should be conducted in silence using Morse code. The choice of lamps or flags should be left to the student
  • Any odours betraying national culinary habits should be disguised by both parties eating a meal of garlic soup and Madras curry before the interview
  • Students should not be touched
  • It is assumed that the tasting of students is ruled out by existing conventions (we hope).

Ben Atkinson

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