Black Lives Matter – a message from our Principal

In response to the Black Lives Matter movements, Principal of Green Templeton, Professor Denise Lievesley shares her thoughts and outlines the actions that Green Templeton college have been taking and the ongoing commitments the college has made.

I responded with total dismay and horror – as I know you all did – at the brutal murder of George Floyd. It has been a month since his death. From global protests to policy changes and the destruction of colonial symbols, communities are asking institutions across the world to undo systemic racism.

Despite decades of policy pronouncements and well-meaning words, progress on Black and minority ethnic inclusion in the university sector has been shamefully slow, and instances of discrimination and prejudice still exist. We in Green Templeton college want to take the opportunity to address and eliminate racism within our community and explore the ways in which we as an institution can be anti-racist. In recent weeks we have taken concrete action to start making those changes in an informed, impactful and effective way. We held an open forum at which students were able to share their experiences of racism, and make suggestions for ways in which we can communicate the unacceptability of any racist attitudes. Fellows and staff listening in to the students’ stories felt that they have a responsibility to educate themselves. They have launched a book share to encourage fellows to examine their own anti-racist practices, to understand white privilege, and to build the better world that our Black and BAME colleagues, students and friends are urging us to create.

A working group is being established to make recommendations to the college for actions we should take to counter racism, become actively anti-racist and to provide a launchpad for our students who want to make the world a fairer place.

An event was organised by one of our students, Lauren Rudd, who sits on the Equality and Diversity Forum. She invited Angela Saini to join her for a conversation on Race and Science. Angela is an award-winning science journalist, author and broadcaster.

Her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, was published by 4th Estate in May 2019 to enormous critical acclaim, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Foyles Book of the Year. In these days when we hear the term ‘following the science’ so often, Angela addressed the fact that science is non-neutral and asks searching questions about who is setting the agenda, how assumptions are challenged and how advice on science policy is peer-reviewed. It was a fascinating conversation.

We welcome the views of all members of our community, alumni, friends, donors, prospective students, Fellows and staff, on the role that the college can play to finally make the changes to society that have been needed but ignored for so long. If you have anything to contribute or share, have any questions or suggestions, I encourage you to submit them to us via our online form.

Denise

Created: 25 June 2020