The Guardian is reporting that a former higher education minister has accused the University of Oxford for failing to successfully tackle racism during the admissions process.
The Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy provoked an indignant response from the senior representatives of Oxford colleges, with one interrupting him to call his comments absolute nonsense during a debate at the university.
The event, a symposium on admissions held on Friday evening, had earlier heard the university’s vice-chancellor Louise Richardson suggest it might need to overhaul its admissions procedures to improve its record, with individual colleges giving way to more centralised admissions.
Her comments, however, were overshadowed by Lammy’s questioning of whether Oxford’s admissions interviewers were trained to recognise unconscious bias.
“You’ve got academics writing on it, yet I suspect the training is not actually happening across the system. We all tend to recruit in our own image,” Lammy told the audience.
Lammy, who was higher education minister in the last Labour government, has criticised Oxford and Cambridge’s admissions in the past. In 2010 he published data highlighting Oxbridge’s poor record in admitting black British undergraduates, and revealed that Merton College, Oxford, had not admitted a single black student for five years.
Do you agree with the comments David Lammy has put forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter. ~ Meena
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