I salute Times Higher Education for being constantly vigilant about equality issues as they relate to both gender and race. With regard to race in particular and the experiences of black and ethnic minority academics and students, your latest news item “BME students more likely to do master’s, but not research” (News, 14 July) is one among many items on the subject that points to a major institutional deficit in our universities.
The barriers to access to higher education and progression in terms of both studies and employment continue to get highlighted and described in THE and only a handful of other papers and reports, but that seems to be the extent of the coverage and reporting. Much lies under the radar, and the well-meaning rhetoric of equality does not address the severity of the negative experiences of BME students and staff. They continue to attract at best indifference and at worst a cursory dismissal of their import. Institutions lose not only a diverse profile of people in their campuses but also new thinking, ideas and innovation that stem from strategic and operational diversity.
It is time that THE, working perhaps with other appropriate partners and crucially with BME stakeholders, launched a thorough investigation into this institutional deficit and looked at solutions for diversity issues.
Professor of business enterprise and innovation
Essex Business School, University of Essex