Statement from Newcastle University UCU branch
In the last number of weeks we have heard of the worrying rise in anti-Asian and Sinophobic attacks, namely in Atlanta in the US, where six Asian women were brutally murdered. We express solidarity with those fighting injustice in the US and acknowledge that racism is not just something that happens ‘over there’. Unfortunately, racist attacks like this are but another horrible chapter in the covid-fuelled and increased racism and hate crimes towards Asians worldwide. In the UK, hate crimes against the Asian community have risen by over 300% since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
At Newcastle University, we are lucky to have a large and vibrant Asian community who contribute to both the university and to the wider Newcastle community. We are shocked and angered to learn of further racist attacks against Chinese students in the city and, worse, on our campus. We cannot tolerate racism of any kind, and we urge the University Executive to ensure that all students are protected, physically and from verbal attack, while they are on campus at the very least.
Newcastle University UCU recognises that we are at a revelatory moment in history in which we must pause and take stock and listen to those who can teach the teachers, including our BAME colleagues and students. We commit to doing so in ways that do not place additional burdens on these same colleagues and students. We are committed to making sustainable lasting change through teaching and research. We also commit to challenging the existing beliefs, tokenism and structures in our institution that are limiting positive change. We recognise that this will take time and reflection. And that we will get things wrong, and that positive change will take time and effort.
In the coming weeks, we will set up an Anti-Racism subcommittee to investigate the levels of racism across the university and make recommendations on how we might combat them. If you would like to be involved in any capacity, please contact Equalities Officer, Sarah Campbell. In the meantime, please consider reading and signing the following open letter to UK Universities: UK Universities Must Take Actions Against Sinophobia and Anti-Asian Racism – Google Docs