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Esme Allman And The Failure To Protect Black Female Students In UK Universities

Last year I was elected to the position of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Convenor as part of my Students’ Association at the University of Edinburgh. Like many other young black women, I was acutely aware of the way sexism and racism impacted on my experience. From the daily microaggressions like the unwanted hair touches or the ‘where are you really from’ questions, right down to the institutional racism that influences and informs our white-dominated curriculum and results in the complete absence of black people in top academic positions. I ran for the role of BME Convenor because I believed I could positively impact the community of students of colour. I wanted to create spaces we could exist outside of racism. A ‘safe space’ if you will.

In June, my role concluded. I had run several successful campaigns, most notably LiberatED - an initiative that involved working alongside university staff and other students to diversify the curriculum. I’ve also been recognised with two awards by my Students’ Association for the positive impact the BME Group’s hard work had.