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Friday, June 18, 1999 Published at 01:32 GMT 02:32 UK


Black lecturers victims of racism

Ethnic minority lecturers are less likely to be promoted than white

University lecturers from ethnic minorities are the victims of racist attitudes, says a survey.

According to a report commissioned by the Policy Studies Institute, ethnic minority lecturers are less likely to be promoted than their white counterparts and many have faced racial harassment.

Sir Herman Ouseley, Chief Executive of the Commission for Racial Equality, said the report's evidence of prejudice "makes uncomfortable reading".

[ image: Herman Ouseley:
Herman Ouseley: "Action needed"
"Higher education leaders must now demonstrate their resolve to ensure that unfairness and discrimination do not distort their sector," he said.

The survey was carried out by researchers from the University of Bristol. It considered the experiences of the 6% of academic staff who are from an ethnic minority background.

After nine years of service, white lecturers were twice as likely as non-white lecturers to have been promoted to the level of professor.

In examining differences in rates of promotion, a quarter of ethnic minority lecturers believed they had been discriminated against in job applications.

A fifth said they had experienced racial harassment, either from staff or students.

The survey also found that ethnic minority staff were much more likely to be in temporary or fixed-term contracts than white staff.

'Long way to go'

In response, the chief executive of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, Diana Warwick, said the report showed that higher education "has a long way to go in advancing equal opportunities - but the first steps have already been taken".

Ms Warwick said almost all higher education institutions had equal opportunities polices and that many were moving towards "specific racial equality action plans" which would address "crucial employment issues such as contract status and promotion".

These equal opportunities policies would be introduced with the support of the Commission on University Career Opportunity, a higher education organisation that was currently planning an "equality strategy" for the next five years.

Ms Warwick pointed to a number of anti-racist initiatives, including the issuing of guidelines by the commission on preventing harassment and the setting up of a "task group" on race and ethnicity.

"This is all part of our recognition that there is room for improvement. We deplore any case of discrimination, or unfair stereotyping."

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