2020-Standing together against racism

Your Principal and Student President stand together against racism

Fri, 12 Jun 2020 16:14:00 BST

The University community of staff and students at Glasgow Caledonian University stand firmly together against racism in all its forms. Both of us have written about our support for Black Lives Matter in recent times (links below).

Principal's Article - Our Darkest Time

Student President Statement - Black Lives Matter movement 

Speaking truth to power on racism and inequality is always a key responsibility for our University for the Common Good.  

We must, however, also be held accountable for the actions we take. Our University is constantly evaluating how we live our values.  Last year we established a Task Group on Racism which included diverse representation from the whole University and from our Students’ Association. 

The Task Group has a vital role to play in helping us to develop our culture by identifying and making recommendations to tackle all forms of racism, whether it be unconscious, overt or systemic and promote good relations. The work of the group will also help us to continuously assess whether the actions we are taking are sufficient and if they are adequately contributing to the fight against racism as the global situation continues to develop.

Also, last year, our Students’ Association ran a successful “Show Racism the Red Card” campaign on campus and online. In addition, colleagues within the University are represented on national steering groups to tackle racism in further and higher education. We are not complacent when it comes to racism in our University and seek to be open to revealing any inherent biases with respect to racism or any institutional racism that may exist and taking the necessary steps to address these.

The University has a long history of supporting racial equality and we are privileged to have been asked to preserve the archive of the Scottish Anti-Apartheid movement in our Library. It’s an accessible, powerful reminder of the injustices of racism and open to our students to view.

We have also been blessed over the years to have had strong relationships and partnerships with extraordinary leaders who remind us of the importance of racial equality including, among others, our Emeritus Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, and Graca Machel, former First Lady of South Africa, wife of Nelson Mandela and Chancellor of the African Leadership College, which we support. We cannot of course forget Denis Goldberg, elected Honorary President of our Students Association when he visited us in 2013, who stood shoulder to shoulder with Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial in South Africa and who then spent 22 years in prison for his own anti-apartheid work.  Denis sadly passed away recently, but his courage in striving for racial equality will never be forgotten, nor will his challenge to our University to be ever vigilant in our commitment to equality across all protected characteristics. 

Racism is corrosive to the socially just society we at GCU seek to help grow. We are all equal. 

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, FRSE

Principal & Vice-Chancellor    

Susan Docherty     

Student President