The University of Sheffield has launched a scheme that would hire 20 students as “Race Equality Champions” to tackle “microaggressions” on campus.
Sheffield University will teach students how to avoid “microagressions” in special classes. They define them as “subtle but offensive comments,” about race.
Some examples that the course gave as microaggressions include:
- “Stop making everything a race issue”
- “Why are you searching for things to be offended about?”
- “Where are you really from?”
- “I don’t want to hear about your holiday to South Africa. It’s nowhere near where I’m from”
- “Being compared to black celebrities that I look nothing like”
- “That raw fish stuff… Japanese culture is weird.”
Around 20 students will also be hired as “Race Equality Champions,” and paid £9.34 an hour, working 2 to 9 hours a week and “lead healthy conversations” about race on campus.
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The vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Koen Lamberts, said that at Sheffield, they think it is “important to be open and honest about racism”:
[That’s] why we listened to our students and worked closely with our Students’ Union and our BME committee to develop the Race Equality Champion roles to change the way people think about racism. These Champions will give our students the skills to challenge microaggressions now and in the future. They will also ensure students are aware of the support available to them at the University of Sheffield. We take pride in being part of a community with students from over 140 different countries and all ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds and will continue to celebrate diversity on campus and ensure students are clear that there is no place at Sheffield for racism.
Rosa Tully, the Women’s Officer at Sheffield’s Student’s Union, applauded the actions of the university:
Standing up to racism and celebrating our diverse University and Sheffield community is a priority for students at Sheffield, so we’re proud to have worked with the University to introduce Race Equality Champions. The sessions are designed to facilitate healthy, open discussions – and to give students the tools to think critically about race in our society, to challenge microaggressions that have a real impact on BME students and to be actively anti-racist in our thinking.
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Last October, Lamberts announced radical plans to force every student that attended Sheffield to go to classes on “sustainable development,” National File reported. He told cheering crowds at a “climate strike” rally that the university must act to “educate the next generation,” as it is “the young people who will be most affected by the impact of climate change in the years to come.”
The Student’s Union also hit the news in November, after they banned white students from attending meetings to discuss how to “create an anti-racist SU”.