Black History Month 2018


What is Black History Month?

Black History Month (BHM) exists to recognise and honour the often overlooked contributions of Black people. This month is an opportunity to promote knowledge of Black history, as well as to disseminate information on the many positive Black contributions to British society.

 

What is the Students' Union (SU) doing?

We believe that Black History Month is a vital part of how we as an SU celebrate the achievements of Black students, and draw attention to the ongoing and additional barriers that Black students face at Greenwich. That’s why last year, the Student Council passed a motion to ensure that Black History Month is a priority of the SU.

However, the Union’s engagement with Black and BAME students is incredibly low. We have not had a Black Full-time Officer elected since 2013. That’s one Black Full-time Officer in the past five years. One Black Full-time Officer elected out of 24 opportunities for election. We know this is unacceptable, and we want to change it.

 

 

What’s the problem?

Representation
- Only one Full-time Officer out of a possible 24 Officers in the past five years has been a Black student.
- In spite of BAME students making up over half of our student body, the SU repeatedly fails to elect Black leaders

 

Engagement
- Numbers for the BAME Network have fluctuated in recent years, and are now worryingly low
- Despite pockets of high quality engagement at Greenwich, the SU centrally fails to engage with Black and BAME students more broadly
- Black and BAME students have repeatedly fed back to the SU that they are concerned by the lack of representation, and that this impacts on engagement

 

BAME Attainment gap
- The gap between white students and BAME students who achieve a first or 2:1 in their degree is roughly a third. This means BAME students are about 30% less likely to achieve the same as their peers, despite having the same entry qualifications
- When comparing white and Black students, the gap extends as high as 51%.
- Often this is blamed on Black students, but this is always incorrect. This data comes from all entry qualifications considered.

 

"Let’s be clear: it is not the fault of our Black students. There are structural barriers, such as racism and bias that exist in British culture, and replicate themselves in the classroom. This inevitably disadvantages Black students more than white students. All staff at the Union and University should be aware of their role in tackling bias and prejudice in higher education, and white staff, in particular, have a responsibility to educate themselves on solutions such as the Inclusive Curriculum Framework."
Henry Setter, Vice President Welfare 2018/19

 

How can you help?

- If you are a Black student, we want to hear from you! E-mail your Vice President Welfare at H.W.H.Setter@greenwich.ac.uk
- You can also come to our Black History Month forum. We want to create an action plan through understanding what Black students need from the SU. Join us on Wednesday 10th October, 12pm - 2pm at Dreadnought Atrium.