King’s accused of failing to represent racial minorities in white pro-women campaign

The 'Meet the Professors' frieze at Strand. Roar News / Johnny Tam

STUDENTS have accused the College of “whitewashing” after King’s launched a pro-female professors campaign which lacked any significant Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) representation.

The ‘Meet the Professors’ display outside the Edmond J Safra lecture theatre on Strand aimed to draw attention to the work of female professors, but has left many students feeling ignored.

Rachel Williams, vice president of the KCL Intersectional Feminist Society said: “It just shows that King’s idea of equality doesn’t include me as a black woman.”

The display, arranged by King’s’ Equality and Diversity department, comes after Femsoc approached the College to work on an almost identical campaign — but involving BME women.

Organisers of Femsoc’s ‘Black Women, White Uni?‘ campaign faced repeated difficulty from the College in finding permission for their display, even though the Equality and Diversity department reportedly knew of Femsoc’s plans.

Race awareness

A spokesperson from King’s told Roar: “We are very conscious of the fact that the number of female BME professors at King’s is lower than we would like, however there is strong commitment among the leadership team to increase diversity across our workforce and student body.”

They said all female professors were invited to participate in the project, adding: “A small proportion of our BME professors came forward so we followed up with them individually to encourage them to participate.”

It is unclear why they did not feature in the final frieze.

This comes in the wake of King’s launching a series of focus groups with BME students on campus.

Vice principal Chris Mottershead said in an email: “We will be undertaking a number of initiatives and events to raise awareness of race and inclusivity at King’s in the coming months.

“It is important that King’s is leading on this agenda and that all staff have a responsibility to engage in the activities and to start to do things differently.”

Update: Equalities manager Debbie Epstein confirmed that there are four BME women on the frieze at Strand.