Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Black? Get back.

No doubt Oxford and Cambridge (and some of my readers) will provide complex arguments about why this isn't so bad as it appears, but I'm shocked.

more than 20 Oxbridge colleges made no offers to black candidates for undergraduate courses last year and one Oxford college has not admitted a single black student in five years.
The university's admissions data confirms that only one black Briton of Caribbean descent was accepted for undergraduate study at Oxford last year.

Let's just reflect on that for a minute. Are we really going to accept that across all classes and educational backgrounds, there was only one British-Caribbean student worthy of a place at Oxford?

Figures revealed in requests made under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act by the Labour MP David Lammy also show that Oxford's social profile is 89% upper- and middle-class, while 87.6% of the Cambridge student body is drawn from the top three socioeconomic groups. The average for British universities is 64.5%, according to the admissions body Ucas.
The FoI data also shows that of more than 1,500 academic and lab staff at Cambridge, none are black. Thirty-four are of British Asian origin.
One Oxford college, Merton, has admitted no black students in five years – and just three in the last decade. Eleven Oxford colleges and 10 Cambridge colleges made no offers to black students for the academic year beginning autumn 2009.
No one from Knowsley, Sandwell and Merthyr Tydfil has got to Cambridge in seven years. In the last five years, pupils from Richmond upon Thames have received almost the same number of offers from Oxford as the whole of Scotland. 
The 'élite' universities are the training grounds for power: your chance of success in any field, but especially politics and government, is immensely boosted by attending these places, with their élite social networks. Denying access to the poor, regional and minority ethnic applicant reinforces the closed nature of the ruling class. Obviously, I'd rather make all universities as good and respected, but in the meantime, we need to smash down the doors. These minority applicants aren't asking for relaxed entrance requirements: they're the best. Take exam results out of the equation and we're left with a very crude and unpleasant explanation for why they're rejected. 

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