A statement from the Principal on racism

The Principal, Professor Geoff Ward, has written to all Homerton students today (6 June 2020) in response to the death of George Floyd and subsequent events both in the United States and internationally.

We know that our Black students, and all those who love and support them, have been greatly affected by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the Black Lives Matter movement to make sure that his death is not ignored. We have all been profoundly distressed by these events.

We know too that Cambridge Colleges still have a long way to go in terms of reflecting the full ethnic and racial diversity of the UK and in actively confronting institutional and systemic racism. At Homerton we strive to create an open and diverse community, bringing together talented individuals from all around the world and from all ethnicities and backgrounds. We are proud when our Black and minority ethnic students flourish, and we take it seriously when they tell us how we can do better.

This rich diversity is a precious part of what it means to belong to our College.  The full participation of students, staff and Fellows of different ethnicities and backgrounds enhances College life for every member.

Black lives do matter, and yet these recent tragic events have again demonstrated systemic and institutional racism and have highlighted that we are far from achieving equality of opportunity and outcome, whether in the world, in this country, or in our College. 

This is a time to reflect on the mistakes and inadequacies of the past and to commit ourselves to future change. 

We are listening to our BME student representatives to develop concrete steps to improve awareness, communication and College discipline to ensure that students of all races and ethnicities prosper at Homerton, and can live and work alongside one another in confidence of support from the College and from their peers, and without fear of discrimination. 

We are committed to assisting any student whose academic work or personal wellbeing has been affected by recent events.

We are committed to firm action and discipline in relation to any racist incident affecting our students. 

We are committed to increasing diversity amongst our Pastoral team and within the wider Homerton staff and Fellowship.

Race awareness training and re-training for student-facing staff, and student workshops, are already scheduled for post-COVID times. 

We will reflect over the coming months on how we can continue to adapt our environment and our practices to support Black and minority ethnic members of our community. 

Homerton aspires to be a ‘conscious College’, and we want to take the opportunity of this pivotal moment of change to move positively and purposefully towards this goal.

If there are actions that you would like to see the College take to support you, tell us and we’ll listen. If you are hurting and you want to express that pain, tell us and we’ll listen. If you have ideas for how we can change for the better, tell us and we’ll listen. It’s not all on you – we will be putting our minds to it too – but the door is open.

Yours in sadness and determination

Geoff

 

Finding support

In addition to the usual College sources of support (Tutors, Directors of Studies, College Counsellors, College Discrimination and Harassment Contact, and the Senior Tutor team – contact details for whom are all on Nexus), students affected by these issues can access further support through the resources below:

The University Counselling Service’s BME counsellor can be requested in the free text box on the pre-counselling form.

Homerton College JCR on Facebook 

Cambridge University Diversity Networks

CUSU BME Campaign

Black Lives Matter

the CU African Caribbean Society and other cultural societies

 

Charities and local organisations with a focus on BME mental health:

Inside Out UK

The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network