For the past few years, students have been raising issues around the BME attainment gap, which is the difference between white and black and minority ethnic (BME) students receiving firsts or 2:1s at the end of their degrees. However, it’s only recently that the College has appeared to start taking action on this issue, recently agreeing to include the Students’ Union’s Liberate My Degree campaign in the Goldsmiths Learning and Teaching Strategy 2017-2022.
Today, the University published their report into the attainment gap. This report proves what we had feared - that there is a substantial gap between the academic experience, progress and success of students of colour and their white counterparts. One example is the stark difference between degree outcomes: whilst 91% of white students achieve a first or 2:1, only 69% of black students attain the same result.
This is a multifaceted issue that isn't exclusive to Goldsmiths, but considering the community we are in, and that Goldsmiths has built a reputation on being radical and challenging the status quo, the University itself must now be challenged.
Rather than a closed-door committee approving a plan with no student involvement, we want BME students to be leading the conversation and framing the action that is taken on this. This is why we urged the University to release the data, that previously was only released to us in a private committee meeting. You can read the report in full here.
To ensure that BME voices are being heard, we will be inviting members of the University’s Senior Management Team, but also staff, including lecturers and tutors, to an Open Meeting on Wednesday, 31 January at 1-3pm in RHB 143. This is where BME students (and staff) will be able to bring their own ideas and solutions. This meeting is open to all because it’s everyone’s responsibility to work together as a campus to close the gap.
You can find a timeline here that includes all of the important milestones and the work that’s been put in to get to where we are today.
If you need any help in understanding or working through the report, or have any ideas but cannot make the meeting, please get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.