The School of Life Sciences is fortunate to have students and staff, especially Black students and staff and those of colour, who have been willing to give their time and effort to share their own stories and personal experiences with racism, in order to educate the many of us who need educating. We acknowledge the pain and trauma that experiencing and explaining racism causes.
One thing that I have heard very clearly is how important it is for all white staff and students in the School of Life Sciences to recognise the role that we play, and that we have a lot of work to do. We will make mistakes along the way, because many of us are ‘unlearning’ too, but we are committed to doing the work. As white members of our community we have a duty to take time to listen, realise our ignorance and educate ourselves. We cannot and must not solely rely on Black members of our community to do that for us. They came to Life Sciences to study or work, not to give up their time to keep fighting the system. In creating change in the department we must not perpetuate the systemic racisms we need to tackle. There are numerous resources to engage with. We are an academic, learning community, and we must listen, learn, and create a proactively anti-racist environment.
We have set up these pages to ensure that the change is transparent, visible and that we can be held accountable. The pages, which are and will remain a work in progress, set out what we will do to achieve this change; each step/action indicates the person(s) responsible and timescales. Our first step was to review our governance structures to empower our committees to monitor this progress, be part of the change and hold us to account. This will include all SLS Student-Staff Liaison Committees. Our progress is within the control of our community.
We appreciate that we need to gain your trust. We have set up a form for all students, staff, applicants, alumni, visitors and friends of the School to use to report any issues and offer solutions to problems with our processes and procedures. The form can be submitted anonymously. It also provides a direct link to report racist incidents via formal University routes.
Educating ourselves and realising the injustices inherent in our environment will not be easy. Many people may experience the foundations of their understanding of the world challenged. Please talk to each other and support one another through this process. Share your learning with your families and friends. And remember that Wellbeing Support Services are here for all students and staff.
Professor Lorenzo Frigerio
Head of School