No black academics have worked in senior management in any British university for the last three years, according to employment records.
Figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency record no black academics in the elite staff category of “managers, directors and senior officials” in 2015-16 – the third year in a row that this has happened.
Among the 535 senior officials who declared their ethnicity, 510 were white, 15 were Asian and 10 were recorded as “other including mixed”. Thirty senior academics either refused or failed to record an ethnicity.
The figures also show universities employ more black staff as cleaners, receptionists or porters than as lecturers or professors.
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and a former higher education minister, said: “This is absolutely shocking. I am appalled that higher education is so deeply unrepresentative of the country.
“Universities talk about widening participation and fair access but the complete lack of diversity in senior positions sends out an absolutely dreadful message to young people from ethnic minorities who find themselves wondering whether university is for them or not.”
Umm, well. The figures don’t in fact show no one. They show only that no one declared that they are black. Which is indeed a mildly different thing.
Black is, for the UK, about 3%. So, among 500 we might expect 15 if it were a properly random distribution. But is it random?
Lammy’s assumption, that it’s the universities discriminating against, looks deeply suspect to me. One of the most painfully lefty and OC sectors of the British economy is openly discriminating against blacks? It’s t’other with bells on it.
Of course, that very denial only leaves us with the idea that black British culture somehow discriminates against academic success and that couldn’t possibly be right, could it?