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An international event to raise awareness of racism and promote diversity was held in Fylde Bar on Friday Week 4.
Organised by LUSU VP (Equality, Welfare and Diversity) Torri Crapper and Aidan Williams, non-sabbatical Race Relations Officer, the event was the culmination of a week-long campaign to increase awareness of racism within both the university and Britain as a whole. The event was a showcase of the broad range of cultures represented within Lancaster University.
The night was very well attended, filling Fylde Bar with ease. Food and music from a broad range of cultures were provided, followed by free buses to the Sugarhouse. “It made me feel a part of something here at Lancaster. This university is clearly very proud of its diversity” one attendee commented.
“I was really impressed with the hard work from the officers, they are the people who made it a success,” said Crapper. “I was thrilled with the number of people who attended, and if the demand is there we do want to run another event, but probably not until after the new year.”
Publicity around campus, produced as part of the campaign, showed a snapshot of indicators that racism still occurs within society today. Sources such as the NUS Black Students Campaign, UNISON and the Equality and Human Rights Commission show that when anonymous marking is not in place, black students are more likely to receive lower marks. Their studies also found that job applicants with an African name are 25% less likely to get an interview than those with a British sounding name, while those with a Muslim name are 18% less likely to get that same interview.
These findings, showing how ethnic background can still be a barrier to equal treatment, are highly relevant to today’s students. Graduating students are also affected – black graduates are three times more likely to be unemployed than white graduates within six months of graduation.
“There is an increasing trend in society to dismiss notions of what constitutes racism with an unhealthy cynicism, to treat racism as though it no longer exists,” said Williams. “Yet all available research suggests otherwise. Only by making ourselves aware of the facts can we work together for a society free of racism”.