October 25, 2020

Oxbridge ‘still deeply racist’: Universities branded ‘finishing school for private system’ by one of its own academies


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12E389AB000005DC-3006994-image-a-73_1427068250291 0341DD1A00000514-3006994-image-a-72_1427068216313By Eleanor Harding and Julie Henry for the Daily Mail UK

Oxbridge branded ‘institutionally racist’ by one of its own academics

Cambridge professor Diane Reay said universities were ‘finishing schools’

Oxbridge has been branded ‘institutionally racist’ and a ‘finishing school for the private school system’ by one of its own academics.

The devastating criticism was delivered by Professor Diane Reay, who accused the universities of ‘accentuating elitism’ among the privileged.

She added that black and white working class students were still small in number and marginalized, despite drives to attract more youngsters from poorer backgrounds.

The professor of education at Cambridge University called for further measures to ensure more students from disadvantaged backgrounds were admitted.

In a report by the race relations think tank the Runnymede Trust, Professor Reay said working class students at Cambridge saw the university as a ‘a white, middle class bubble’.

She said her research suggested that ‘positive discrimination’ was at work in Oxbridge, bestowing advantage on the already advantaged.

Figures released last year showed Oxford has the lowest proportion of state school pupil entrants – 57.4 per cent – of any university in England, once small and specialist higher education institutions are excluded.

At Cambridge, 63 per cent of undergraduates admitted were from state schools.

In the Runnymede report, Aiming Higher: Race, Inequality and Diversity in the Academy, Professor Reay suggested varying success rates of different applicant groups demonstrated ‘institutional racism’.

Policies such as rarely accepting candidates with less traditional qualifications, not catering for part-time students and not allowing undergraduates to work during term time effectively rule out the majority of working class and particularly black and ethnic minority candidates, she said.

In 2013, 25.4 per cent of white students applying to Oxford won a place. The success rate of Bangladeshi and Pakistani students was under seven per cent, while black Caribbean students had a 14.3 per cent conversion rate and Black African students a 13 per cent success rate.

At Cambridge, black Caribbean applicants had a 24.3 per cent chance of success compared to 29 per cent for White applicants. The figure for black African students was 9.2 per cent, and Bangladeshi and Pakistani students 13.8 and 13.6 per cent respectively.

She said: ‘Oxbridge remains the equivalent of a finishing school for the private school system, polishing, refining and accentuating the elitism and sense of superiority acquired in earlier schooling.’

The academic suggested that affirmative action, such as quotas for certain groups, were needed to counteract ‘the growing class and race inequalities that are pervasive across the higher education sector’.

Both universities said they ‘strongly rejected’ the professor’s allegations and outlined the millions of pounds they spend on encouraging students from poor and ethnic backgrounds to apply and on supporting them once they were there.

A Cambridge University spokesman said extensive efforts were made to encourage more applications from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and that such students represented 16 per cent of the intake, which is in line with national population trends.

‘Success rates are influenced by prior school attainment, our entry requirements and the combinations of subjects studied by applicants,’ he said.

‘Data shows that ethnic minority admissions to Cambridge reflect national trends once prior school attainment has been factored in. Choices relating to subject of study and location of university also have a substantial bearing on entry rates by ethnic group. Our commitment to improving access to the University is longstanding and unwavering.’

A spokesman for Oxford University said: ‘We reject in the strongest terms any allegations of institutional bias or discrimination. Such claims are unsubstantiated, and we are concerned that unfounded allegations could undermine our efforts to attract and admit black and minority ethnic students. Just under a quarter of all Oxford students of known ethnicity are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.’


Oxbridge has been branded ‘institutionally racist’ and a ‘finishing school for the private school system’ by a Cambridge University (pictured) academic

The devastating criticism was delivered by Professor Diane Reay, who accused the universities of ‘accentuating elitism’ among the privileged (file picture of Oxford University)

For more on this story go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3006994/Oxbridge-deeply-racist-Universities-branded-finishing-school-private-one-academies.html#ixzz3VDDZ2mH5



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