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UK's first black female university head addresses racism

PICTURED: Baroness Valerie Amos (Photo credit: UNCTAD)

BARONESS VALERIE AMOS, the UK's first black woman university head, has said there are "deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes which need to be overcome" at UK universities.

Speaking ahead of a conference on university leadership, Baroness Amos, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas), in London, said universities liked to see themselves as "inclusive and internationalist," however, "not even 1% of UK professors are black."

But she said there has been "anger and frustration" among ethnic minority academic staff at their under-representation in senior jobs and the achievement gap for ethnic minority students.

"As a black person I know how hard it is to explain the pernicious and debilitating impact of day-to-day racism," said Baroness Amos. "Many of us don't talk about it, but that doesn't mean it's not there."

"University leaders need to acknowledge that we are not doing enough," she says.

She will address the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Leadership for Higher Education Summit today (May 16), organised by Advance HE, a new agency that will promote equal opportunities in universities.

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