[CODATA-international] Open Letter on “Racism in UK Universities”

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Tue Mar 14 04:55:13 EDT 2023

Dear colleagues,

I have send an Open Letter on “Racism in UK Universities” to the Vice Chancellors of UK universities, Research Funders, International Science Council, Russell Group, Universities UK to  look into the issue of racial discrimination happening in  many universities in the UK as it is affecting thousands of Black and minority ethnic (BAME) staff and students.

I feel that I have a moral duty to be the voice of thousands of BAME staff and students suffering racial discrimination in silence in various UK universities hence I shared my experiences with the International Science Council, Research Funders as this is in the public interest. Even if anyone tries to raise a racial discrimination complaint , it is of no use as the management will do everything to cover up.

All senior managers of universities in the UK have duty to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and protect human rights. Details at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

May I bring to your kind attention the Nature article published on “ How UK science is failing Black researchers — in nine stark charts". By Elizabeth Gibney (published 14 Dec 2022) at https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-022-04386-w/index.html

Data shows that the representation of scientists from marginalized ethnicities dwindles at each stage of the UK academia highlighting the fact that structural racism is widespread in many universities in the UK. It is very disappointing to read about the scale of racial discrimination in some of the universities in the UK.

Systemic racism is a wider problem affecting BAME staff and students. For example, this article in Guardian (dated 12 Dec 2022) gives example of racial discrimination faced by a BAME academic at a UK university.


Another article in the Guardian - More than 120,000 workers from minority ethnic backgrounds have quit their jobs because of racism, suggests a landmark study that has found workplace discrimination is sapping the confidence of a large part of the UK workforce.

Details at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/01/more-than-120000-workers-quit-jobs-because-of-racism-uk-study-suggests

It is disappointing to learn about the scale of Racial discrimination in some UK work environments. This made me realise that the Racial Injustices that I had faced are part of a much wider issue affecting Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students.  Without adequate action from employers the pervasiveness of racism increases.

Racial discrimination is illegal as per the UK law but still it is sad fact that thousands of BAME researchers (especially working in junior level) are suffering racial discrimination in silence for many years in many UK universities . There is a huge pressure to hide Racial Injustice under the carpet and silence colleagues who raise these issues.

I am grateful to International Science Council for the supporting my work for GeoForAll and encouraging me to share my racial discrimination experiences through the International Science Council  interview so in future colleagues don’t suffer Racism.  Details at https://council.science/current/blog/no-problem-is-too-big-combating-discrimination-in-geospatial-science/

Following my interview with the International Science Council , I had many BAME colleagues across various universities in UK contacting me and thanking me for showing the courage to speak out on Racism and giving them hope. It is so sad and disappointing to hear the scale of racial discrimination experiences from BAME colleagues . It is very alarming to also hear from them the steps taken for covering up of racial discrimination complaints by their university managements. This is very worrying especially for BAME staff who are on temporary work visa sponsored by the University employer. Some of these junior researchers are suffering in silence as they are threatened by their management staff  that they will  sack them and revoke their sponsorship if they speak about their racial discrimination experiences.  Is this some kind of “modern slavery” of Black and minority ethnic  researchers in UK universities?  Why is some University Senior Staff/Managers using their sponsorship of visa as a tool to exploit BAME staff?

As per the UK law, all employers and senior management staff of all UK  universities have responsibility to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and protect human rights. Any UK university employee (even if they are senior management )  if they are trying to cover up racial discrimination complaints then they are also acting against the UK law.

I request that the UK Government Department for Science, Innovation & Technology , UKRI, The International Science Council, Research Funders, Equality and Human Rights Commission to please look into racial discrimination happening in universities in the UK as it is affecting thousands of BAME staff and students.

I request the University vice-chancellors and senior management in all UK Universities to please consider my humble request for providing new 100 full scholarships per year at each UK university for  students from economically poor families and first-generation students.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi

Please see my open letters at



Let’s build a world beyond racism and discrimination, where we all exercise our human rights. Be a human rights champion!

Best wishes


Dr Suchith Anand

Senior Adviser to Governments and International Organisations | Scientist | Board member | Governance | Policy | Consultant in Data Science and Data Ethics | Global Citizen | SDG Volunteer and Advocate



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