University’s response to racism leaves students “disappointed” and “distrustful”

first_imgThis article was updated at 17:26 to include comment received from Oxford University and to reflect increased numbers signing the open letter. The African and Caribbean Society (ACS), alongside the Presidential Committee of collegiate JCRs and many MCR Presidents, have expressed concerns in an open letter to the University, which states that “seemingly performative” statements and actions have left many students “distrustful and weary”. The ACS lists actions the University should take to address racism, including publicly apologising for its “delayed and vague initial response”, announcing “transparent, tangible details” of how University and colleges will support welfare provision for Black students, and “swift disciplinary action” against students who have acted in discriminatory ways. “The University reaffirms its unequivocal abhorrence of and opposition to racism against Black and Minority ethnic people and discrimination in all its forms. At the same time, we acknowledge that the University itself is imperfect in the way it addresses these issues. We still have work to do in creating a truly diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels respected and secure, but we are determined in our efforts to achieve this. These points have been acknowledged publicly, including in a statement which went to the media on 4 June.” The ACS, with JCR and MCR Presidents, writes: “What is becoming increasingly clear is that the university’s track record and response so far have left many students, Black, BAME, and otherwise, distrustful and weary of the seemingly performative nature of the statements made and actions taken by the university and staff.” The SU states that “quite rightly” reaction from students and the wider population has been “overwhelmingly critical”. The SU notes that the response did not acknowledge the “institutional anti-Blackness and racism of the University and commit to tackling it.” The SU asks the University to release “a more comprehensive statement”, which acknowledges anti-Black racism, expresses solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Black students, condemns police violence towards Black people in the UK and the US, apologises for failings, and commits to integrating anti-racism into the University. An Oxford Anti-Racism open letter, ‘Oxford University Must Tackle Systemic Racism’, has been signed by over 2000 individuals and organisations affiliated with the University since it was released this morning. The letter describes how the University has failed to “uphold anti-racist values” and the steps needed for change. Some JCRs have since condemned how Christ Church college and the JCR handled the hustings and the response to it. A petition and a letter template addressed to the staff and JCR criticise the University and college’s mistreatment of Onovo and their failures to address systemic racism. Oxford students have criticised Oxford University’s response to racial inequality and injustice, in light of worldwide protests against police violence and systemic racism. Criticism included tweets noting the University’s issues with racism, such as the Oxford Union, Stormzy’s scholarship for black British students, and the University’s affiliation with Cecil Rhodes. The University’s decision to delay the release of diversity admissions data, due to be published this week, has been met with further criticism. A statement from the University said: “As world events have escalated over the last ten days, it became obvious that now was not the time to share this content… It felt deeply inappropriate to publish content that could distract from the important challenges and debate facing our society at this time and try to draw attention to our own progress on the figures.” It demands engagement with Black and minority ethnic students, improvement of intake of Black and minority ethnic students, and ensuring colleges commit to anti-racist measures through providing diversity training and welfare services. It describes how the University does not currently “uphold anti-racist values”, including the underrepresentation of Black British students at Oxford, regular racist incidents, and “only inconsequential inroads into tackling the material legacy of imperialism.” We’re committed to supporting our community in opposing racism in all its forms, including upholding anti-racist values.— University of Oxford (@UniofOxford) June 2, 2020“Pure lip-service to shield its reputation”, says open letter from students and organisations Christ Church released a statement about the hustings, condemning the remarks made at the JCR hustings, saying: “We all have much to learn, but we are committed to fostering a culture of mutual respect both at Christ Church and in the wider world.” It also describes how the University should redress its “racist financial legacy”, through paying the Oxford Living Wage, undertaking an independent enquiry into how the University benefitted from slavery and colonial wealth, and prioritising engagement with the wider community over “hoarding knowledge and resources”. The letter notes the “number of racists and insensitive comments, ‘jokes’, posts, and actions carried out by students across the university… The unprecedented nature of this virtual/remote term has left a paper trail of racist incidents that would likely have otherwise been downplayed and/or (mis) ‘managed’ if they happened in person.” The Oxford Anti-Racism open letter from students and societies states that the the University “values its reputation over its responsibility to students, knowledge production, and anti-racism.” The SU proposes nine points for the University to tackle racial inequality. These include embedding anti-racism into welfare across the University, committing to decolonising the curriculum and reading lists, and making equality and diversity training to staff mandatory. The Anti-Racism Oxford open letter says this delay proves the tweet on anti-racism is “pure lip service to shield its reputation”. The African and Caribbean Society (ACS) letter states that this delay is “contrary to the supportive and proactive tone of the prior statement.” The University tweeted its commitment to anti-racism a few days ago, linking to resources about diversity and welfare support on the Oxford website. “We feel the way in which Christ Church responded demonstrates a profound lack of understanding and devaluing of the black female experience… In the University’s concern for confidentiality, it seems that ‘welfare’ is being weaponised to silence victims and allow those who demonstrate harmful, discriminatory, and prejudiced behaviour to evade accountability for their actions.” Dr Rebecca Surender, University Advocate for Equality and Diversity and Pro Vice-Chancellor, has sent to Oxford departments and colleges an email for onward communication to staff and students which emphasises the University’s anti-racism and the support available. The email links to resources for staff and student wellbeing, the BME staff network, and advice and training about harassment. Surender writes: “The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week and subsequent events have shone a light on how institutions, including Oxford, deal with racism. “Many of you have written to me to express the anger and frustration you feel. You have also asked about the University’s own support for those affected by these issues and our stance on addressing racism within our own institution. I am replying to as many individual emails as I can but thought it might be helpful to share our position more widely. The Oxford Student Union (SU) has written an open letter to the University Vice-Chancellor to express “disappointment” at the University’s response to the “ongoing issues of racial injustice around the world”. The letter mentions the recent remarks made by a Christ Church candidate for a JCR position, who reasoned that US riots and the killing of George Floyd meant she should become ‘Cake Rep’. The letter expresses concern about how Melanie Onovo, who spoke out against the comments, was treated by Christ Church Censors. Image credit to Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia. License: CC BY-SA 4.0.last_img read more

Hobart Hurricanes’ Emily Smith banned  for season for Instagram post

first_imgHOBART Hurricanes wicketkeeper Emily Smith has been banned, in effect for three months, under Cricket Australia’s anti-corruption code after posting team news on social media before a WBBL game.Smith, 24, has been sanctioned for putting the Hurricanes’ team line-up on her Instagram account, in a video taken from within the restricted Player and Match Official Area (PMOA), approximately an hour before it was due to be released for the match against the Sydney Thunder on November 2 in Burnie. The game was later abandoned because of the weather but that has not prevented a substantial punishment.Her ban is for 12 months with nine months suspended, but that still means Smith, who had played all eight of the Hurricanes’ matches this season, will miss the rest of the WBBL and the Women’s National Cricket League, which resumes in January.Cricket Tasmania said in a statement that they were reviewing their processes for players and officials inside the PMOA where mobile phones are prohibited. They added that Smith was being supported by the state and the Australian Cricketers Association.Article 2.3.2 of CA’s anti-corruption code prohibits “Disclosing Inside Information to any person (with or without Reward) where the Participant knew or might reasonably have known that such disclosure might lead to the information being used in relation to Betting in relation to any Match or Event.”In a related note, the code states: “Any potential offence under this Article will be considered on its own set of facts and the particular circumstances surrounding any relevant disclosure. For example, it may be an offence under this clause to disclose Inside Information: (a) to journalists or other members of the media; and/or (b) on social networking websites where the Participant knew or should reasonably have known that such disclosure might lead to the information being used in relation to Betting.”Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s head of integrity and security, said: “Whilst Cricket Australia acknowledges that at the time of posting the team line-up there was no intent to breach the Anti-Corruption Code, CA’s rigorous anti-corruption player education program means that players are well aware of their obligations under the Anti-Corruption Code and there is no excuse for breaches regardless of the reasons for information being disclosed.“Since the commencement of the WBBL, Cricket Australia has had in place a robust anti-corruption program. We have been working with Emily throughout the process and Emily now understands the mistake she made. Unfortunately, in this instance Emily’s actions breached the Anti-Corruption Code. We hope this serves as reminder to all that the Anti-Corruption Code is critical to protecting the integrity of the game.” (ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more

University expands neuroscience program

first_imgUSC has begun searching for new neuroscience faculty to expand the program, responding to exceptionally high student interest and the increased demand for research in the field.Brain power · Fifth-year neuroscience graduate student Farhan Baluch works on his doctorate project about biomechanics, programming the brain of a locust to be able to use it for other purposes, such as sonar. – Mindy Curtis | Daily Trojan Under Provost Elizabeth Garrett, the university has formed a committee that will not only work to add more classes and research facilities, but will also define what to look for when choosing new faculty in the neurosciences.“Our hope is that these transformational hires will have a kind of multiplying effect on the strengths and quality of the research and education that we have to offer here at USC,” said Pat Levitt, chair of the cell and neurobiology department.Because neuroscience is a diverse field touching on law, psychology, chemistry, cinema and engineering, the initiative will be university-wide, Levitt said.New classes will be added depending on the various specialties of the new faculty. Michael Quick, executive vice provost, said that the committee is looking beyond credentials and into collaborative efforts.“Of course they will have a vigorous research agenda, have a strong history of training the next generation of scientists and be excellent teachers,” Quick wrote. “But they will [have] that extra something that says that when they come to USC they will catalyze a lot of collaboration and activity across all our campuses.”Students will directly benefit from such expansion, as new courses will be added to answer increased demand, Quick said.“We started it only a few years ago and … the major … [now has something like 400 or 500 [students],” Quick wrote.For undergraduates, the initiative means new and more interdisciplinary courses, as well as new research laboratories in which they can perform research.Levitt said that freshmen and sophomores will be able to immediately reap the benefits of hiring new faculty.For graduate students, numbering a little more than 100, the presence of world-class neuroscientists and research facilities is extremely attractive, Quick wrote.Lauren Klosinski, a graduate student in neuroscience, who graduated from USC last May with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, agrees that faculty who are involved in more than just neuroscience is crucial to furthering the program .“As an undergraduate, I felt like we needed fresh faces,” Klosinski said. “USC neuroscience is pretty good at being comprehensive. Because it’s so interdisciplinary, you need to know a lot, but also a little [in your specific field] to be able to translate across many fields.”In addition to new faculty, Garrett is looking specifically for growth in the area of neuroimaging, such as the use of various brain-imaging techniques to image brain structure and function, because it will provide opportunities to do experiments on humans.“We are going to learn a lot about the human brain in the next few years and neuroimaging will lead the way,” Quick wrote.The committee, which has one meeting in January and two more in February, is committed to beginning the hiring process this academic year. Jump starting the process this year will have significant benefits for both current and prospective students.“We’re looking for world-changers,” Levitt said. “We’re looking for faculty who are doing research and educating in a twenty-first century way.”last_img read more

Shooting shift carries Wisconsin over Indiana, 69-58

first_imgWisconsin is a scary team when it shoots well. The Badgers are also a scary team when they shoot poorly. It’s just a different type of scary, one the Badgers can’t prefer.That polarization was on full force at the Kohl Center, defining the two halves of basketball between Wisconsin and Indiana Tuesday night. It wound up being strong enough in the Badgers’ favor during the second half to lead Wisconsin in its 69-58 victory over the Hoosiers.In doing so, it was another rendition displaying just how the Badgers (23-5, 10-5) win games at this point in the season. For Wisconsin, with an improved defense from the doldrums that garnered five losses in six games, winning games in February seems to depend almost directly on the Badgers’ shooting tendencies.Although it ended well for UW, it didn’t begin pretty. That ugly pole of horror was on display for the first 20 minutes as Wisconsin netted just 19 points — trailing Indiana’s 29 — on seven buckets for a first half rate of just 25.9 percent.The frustration could have prompted a furious Bo Ryan in the locker room, with his team down 10 to the unranked, struggling Hoosiers (15-12, 5-9).“The halftime talk had nothing to do with threats, violence, none of that,” Ryan said. “It was, ‘We know what we can do, we’ve just gotta do it.’”They did, and then some.With their most prevalent three-point shooter Ben Brust continuing to struggle in the first half, it was almost too perfect that his spark lit the fire under the lifeless Badgers.After missing all four attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, a trend of Brust bricks had swelled. Wisconsin’s sniper had made just one of his last 17 tries from distance over his last five halves of basketball.But then he made one.“I knew it was only a matter of time,” Brust said. “I knew it was going to start, so I was just like, ‘Can it just start now?’”Just 45 seconds after he hit the first one, Brust squared away and connected on another. Thoughts of that scoreless first half were far from the Kohl Center.No more than two-and-a-half minutes passed by before Brust hit his third triple of the second half. This one put Wisconsin up 41-38, a lead it would never surrender, largely because its shooting took off even stronger.“It was definitely good to get a couple to go down,” Brust said. “I think it ignited this team and just trickled down to everyone else … It just kind of got us going and opened things up.”Following Brust’s triad of triples, Wisconsin made six of its next nine shots, extending its lead to its highest point at 58-43, and just about everyone got involved.Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig found a few layups before Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson found three pointers. In sum, Wisconsin shot nearly 62 percent in the second half — going 13-for-21 from the field. After just a 1-for-10 performance from beyond the arc in the putrid first half, the Badgers made six of 11 threes in the final 20 minutes.When a team is clicking like the Badgers were in that second half, pressure was sure to increase for the visiting Hoosiers. An array of Badgers’ buckets can seemingly tighten the rim on the opposite end of the floor as Indiana tried to keep pace.Then as they rushed to get stops on the defensive end, Wisconsin’s end of the floor seemed a little more wide open each time. Their shooting percentage justly followed suit.“A lot of times you’re getting ready for one or two guys to be very good passers. Their whole team is,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “The bottom line is: They got some good looks because we were in rotation a little bit.“They got hot. The basket started looking pretty big for them.”Coupled with a defense that didn’t allow a single 30-point half — which they did twice when in losing fashion during the January game in Bloomington, Ind. — Wisconsin’s hot shooting now seems good enough to take them wherever they please.“When the ball goes through the hoop, it makes a lot of things easier,” Dekker said. “People think it’s some crazy magic that happened, but no. We made shots and made some plays … we just ran our plays and it worked.”last_img read more