How Swansea University and Swansea Student’s Union Support Black Students?
In honor of black history month, we here at The Waterfront thought it was important to investigate how the university and student’s union supports its black students, and the opportunities offered to them.
Here is our Welfare Officer, Liza Leibowitz talking about her thoughts on this:
“If you asked me last year what the University does to support its Black students, I may not have been able to give you a guaranteed response. Even in my previous position as BME Officer, the only work I knew of the University doing, was collating data regarding the Black Attainment Gap.
It was only in my position as Welfare Officer where I could see the face of how much the University does behind the scenes for this demographic of students, I learnt of the Equality Charter and how the University has pledged to work towards bettering the experience of Black Students.
I was also able to see how much my colleague Theresa (our Education Officer in the Student’s Union), alongside other key University colleagues such as our Director or Student Services, our Head of the Equality Committee and the Head of BME Engineering (just to mention a few), strive to ensure that we are speaking and acting on the problems Black Students face.
Even myself, being a black student turned employee, was given an opportunity to make sure race topics were embedded in our University Strategic Plan.
The space we’re falling short in currently, is purely how to engage with students at ground level to make them see the actions of University and be empowered to make changes and see more people like themselves in senior positions (and maybe along the way decolonise our curriculum). I do see some real changes being made and I’m proud of the strides Swansea University has made and continues to make”
Here’s what our BME officer, Rodrigues Mbongompasi, had to say about how the University and Student’s Union supports its black students:
“I must admit, as BME Officer, I think the question: “How the university has supported black students” is a difficult one to answer.
This is because in order for that to be answered, one must be able to name some schemes or initiatives specifically aimed at black students. However, that is not quite possible to do so.
Albeit, I am grateful for the support I have received from the university, particularly through the reimbursements of travel expenses during my summer work experience, funding from the School of Law to organise a student careers event and both the Subject Rep and now the Student Union Officer positions. Despite this, I think the opportunities and support I have gained are not merely directed at black students, they are open for the benefit of every students’, irrespective of race.
However, recently the Education Officer, Theresa, and I created the BAME Students Advisory Committee. At the core, we hope to amplify the voices of BAME students, ensuring that their experiences play a part in important decisions and policies within Swansea University.
As such, through this, I hope we will be able to find ways in which the University can support black students. Most critically, I look forward to ensuring that key decisions and policies reflect the need of BAME students in Swansea as a whole.