University of Lincoln graduands await the start of the January 2015 Graduation Ceremony in St.Mary's Cathedral

Universities lack diversity, Student Christian Movement agrees

Wed 19 Sep 2018
By Alex Williams

The Student Christian Movement (SCM) has sided with the authors of a new report which demands universities do more to improve diversity in lecture theatres.

On Wednesday, the organisation backed the document, written by the Universities and College Union, which also highlighted a lingering attainment gap between black and minority ethnic (BME) students and their white counterparts.

Feylyn Lewis, the BME student rep for the SCM told Premier: "Things really have to start [to change] at a senior level and work their way down.

"I think there really should be more of a prioritisation of the Race and Equality Charter."

The Charter was introduced in 2014 to boost the representation and progression of BME students and staff at universities. So far, 48 institutions have signed up.

"We want to see universities, particularly at the vice chancellor-level, really taking this a duty... to support all of our students."

A document published by the University and College Union (UCU) called for institutions to ramp up their efforts to ensure more students and academics from BME backgrounds are in further education.

It suggested expanding name-blind university applications to help stamp out discrimination and rewarding universities who fulfil the requirements of the Race and Equality Charter with a research funding boost.

Feylyn Lewis added: "We're really seeing lower numbers of black and minority ethnic students actually enrolling at university and then sustaining a place at university as well."

Asked why the issue is important for Christians, Feylyn answered: "For Christians, I think it's recognising that we have a role in terms of applying social justice and really engaging in social justice issues."

Click here to listen to Premier's John Pantry and Rosie Wright speaking with Feylyn Lewis from the Student Christian Movement:

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