Buildings all over our campus are named after eugenicists who today we would call white supremacists.
These consist of the Petrie Museum after Flinders Petrie, the Pearson Building after Karl Pearson and the Francis Galton Laboratory and Lecture Theatre.
These figures forwarded their respective disciplines of archaeology, statistics and biometry by dehumanising and experimenting on those who were not racialised as white. Their ideologies are far reaching and have strong connections to Nazism and British colonialism through Churchill. It is not enough to change the names of these buildings, the twisted ideology and the legacy of racism they have propagated and created must be opposed by Decolonising UCL.
* Decolonise Education * Decolonise the Mind * Decolonise the Institution
What it is
The curriculum at UCL gives a disproportionate weight to male, white voices. This, in turn, results in a learning environment that favours white European students and has resulted in the widely acknowledged BME attainment gap. We think it's time that UCL reviewed its courses to include a truer representation of the world. Through this campaign we will lobby, not only for diversity on our reading lists, but for taught content to celebrate the achievements of BME scientists, economists, philosophers and so on, as well as ensuring the institution reflects diversity in its staff.
- The creation of Education Committee sub-group, linking and therefore improving the efficiency of the existing work by Liberating the Curriculum, Race Equality Charter Mark, the Union and other key stakeholders
- Policy instated ensuring that the curriculum is diverse across the institution and supporting staff in reforming their programmes
- Creation of a toolkit for Student Academics Reps to provide them with practical advice on challenging their curriculum
Decolonise the Mind
What it is
The white-centric environment in our universities is having a negative impact on BME students' mental health, confidence and motivation. Our research with the Heads Up campaign revealed that BME students are less likely to use the support services available due to a lack of understanding of the cultural issues they face, and the under-representation and visibility of BME academics can further impact BME students' sense of belonging here. Through this campaign, we aim to push for greater cultural understanding during delivery of support services such as mental health/wellbeing provision and mentoring to create a more inclusive campus culture.
- The Welfare and International Officer and Student Support and Wellbeing to hold self-care workshops for BME students
- For Student Psychological Services staff and Student Support and Welfare advisors to receive additional training in supporting students from oppressed backgrounds
Decolonise the Institution
What it is
As well as specific areas for change, there is much work to be done in ensuring that the staff and students are committed to changing the legacy of racism at UCL. We want to help you understand and connect with existing initiatives at UCL that are doing good work to challenge this, giving you funding opportunities to make long-standing changes to the world around you.
- The development and delivery of Zero Tolerance-style workshops for students on identifying and challenging everyday racism
- Commitment from UCL Senior Management Team to challenge institutional racism by:
- A public statement in support of the campaign's aims
- Identifying a member of the SMT who will be the Decolonise Champion, ensuring it is a top level priority
- Establishing an academic department for the study of Critical Eugenics and Race to further examine UCL's relationship with these issues
How can I get involved?
If you are interested in a particular strand of the campaign, contact the relevant officer to find out what we are working on at the moment and how you can help.
If you're just hoping to keep up to date, follow the BME Network on social media, where we will be providing regular updates.