Why are textbooks so expensive? Why is my lecturer not Black? Your questions, answered

Hey all, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Adnan and I am your Education Officer for 2019/20! I thought I would use this opportunity to talk about what I have been up to and what students can expect throughout the year. 

You may have noticed a couple of weeks ago that the Additional Costs Bursary was launched. I am proud to say that over 170 students have applied. Just a reminder that the bursary covers hidden course costs such as textbook costs, dissertation printing & binding or travel to a placement or fieldwork. You can apply for a bursary of up to £100 and any student can apply via this link.


We are now halfway through ‘We Are Black History’ for this month and I am delighted to be launching our campaign - ‘Why is my curriculum white?’ on Monday 21st October with a panel event on the Black experience in Higher Education and how as a sector we can be more inclusive of Black students & academics. This will be in Ken Edwards LT3, from 6pm. The campaign will consist of a year-long series of events & workshops designed to empower students & staff on the ground with the skills to push for a decolonised and inclusive curriculum. We will also be using the campaign to ensure that the University Leadership team lives up to its commitments made last year to students and academics at the Inclusivity Ideathon. 


This semester you can expect workshops on Decolonising Education at our Student Leaders’ Conference this weekend (which will be delivered by me!), and another, more comprehensive workshop on Monday 4th November from 6pm, delivered by the NUS Black Students’ Officer, Fope Olaleye in Ken Edwards 526. This will then culminate in a flagship panel event on Decolonising Education with academic Adam Elliott-Cooper and poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan already confirming attendance. This will be on Thursday 7th November from 6pm in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre. More details can be found here.


We will also be running Islamophobia Awareness Month in November with events and workshops on the Prevent duty and how to both protect the academic liberties of students & combat the duty’s inherently racist manifestations, the gendered nature of Islamophobia and the history of Islam in the Americas - more details of which will be released soon! As well as this, your Students’ Union executive team are working hard to ensure that the University provides sufficient support for prayer facilities, particularly on Fridays for Muslim students and the Islamic Society. 


Aside from planning events & campaigns, I have also been advocating for you at University committees and meetings. Currently our Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) Student Experience project, in tandem with the University, is underway with focus groups of students of colour and their experiences of higher education & the University more broadly. The discussions so far have been engaging and there is definitely a lot that both the SU and University can learn from. 


I am also working closely with both the University Careers department and the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) Society in planning a networking event for Women students in STEM for International Women’s Week in March. Me and your Wellbeing Officer, Sana also sit on a working group with University staff on reforming our Personal Tutor system so that it is fit for purpose and students know what to expect from their Personal Tutor. 


This is all a brief overview of what I have been upto so far and what you can expect in the coming months. As ever, if there is anything you need help with or are unsure about anything around your course, then please don’t hesitate to visit us in the SU offices or email me! I look forward to seeing and welcoming you all to our events.