Wolfson College front building
A statement of BLM from the President and the Chair of GM

Published on:

19 June 2020

The events in the US dramatise the consequences of allowing deeply embedded racist attitudes to be subject to too little challenge. Conscious and unconscious racial bias, and inaction in addressing them, remain prevalent across many institutions.

Wolfson College reasserts its belief in the need to promote, protect and advance equal dignity and respect, diversity of thought, good race relations, tolerance and multi culturalism in our institutions and the world. Wolfson was founded by a Jewish refugee from Latvia and its mission has always been to provide a home in Oxford for those without one. Its values have always been equality, freedom and secularism. 70% of our students are international; 40% of our students and 10% of our Governing Body are BAME. We believe in continual improvement.

We acknowledge the role that education can play in building racial equality and fair inclusion of black voices and perspectives in society.  We recognise and regret that, for black members of our community, the unfolding crisis together with the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on their communities has caused them particular anxiety, anger and pain.

We stand with them during these difficult moments with hope that, through the global mobilisation of many against these injustices, through education, discussion, and peaceful protest, we may work together towards a world free of systemic racism and discrimination.

For its part, Wolfson college will reinvigorate its actions to support change, including:

  • Continuing public academic discussion and research into decolonisation.
  • Establishing a Working Group to determine whether, despite our creation in 1966 when the colonial era was coming to an end, Wolfson was in any sense a participant in or beneficiary of imperial or racist policies.
  • Ensuring that those invited to speak at the College represent as wide a field as possible.
  • Implementing recommendations of the Fellows’ Diversity Working Group.
  • Continuing work to establish scholarships to support more black graduate students.
  • Ensuring all those involved at the College in recruitment processes have undertaken unconscious bias training.

Sir Tim Hitchens, President

Minhui Wei, Chair of General Meeting

June 2020