It's time for universities to make race equality a priority | Valerie Amos

Universities say they are taking steps to promote BAME staff and address the attainment gap, but progress is far too slow

When I was appointed director of Soas University of London in 2015, I was astounded to discover that I was the first person of African-Caribbean descent to head a UK university. Ever since, I find myself frequently asked why there is such a lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in senior management in higher education.

I don’t have a simple answer to that question. But I do know that many BAME staff in higher education have expressed anger, frustration and disbelief at their lack of representation in senior roles. Not even 1% of UK professors are black and across the sector there is a 16% pay gap between BAME and white staff working in senior management for academic and professional services. Moreover, black students are more likely to drop out, and make up the lowest proportion of students graduating with a first or upper second class degree.

Related: Do universities have a problem with promoting their BAME staff?

Related: 'I've been mistaken for the coffee lady': experiences of black female academics

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