Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Hello Black Lives Matter-LSHTM! We hope you are enjoying the summer - we are gearing up for the upcoming academic year. Here’s what’s been going on the past couple of weeks.
BLM’s response to LSHTM’s efforts to decolonise the curriculum
Last 6 August, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) asked all module organisers and programme directors to start working individually to evaluate their teaching materials, so these can be ‘decolonised’ in a preliminary way before sending out to students in September. While we were happy to see the School making some effort, we question the additional workload that is about to be put on LSHTM staff without regard to their capacity to take on this challenge in the midst of a pandemic. There is also a risk that the responsibility will be delegated to junior BIPOC professionals. We want the curriculum to be decolonized but it is a process that will require time, expertise and external support. We said so in a ‘reply all’ to the SLT, module organisers, programme directors, unions, and of course the Decolonising Global Health (DGH) group. (Letter in the What we do section)
Follow-up on the selection of the next LSHTM Director
Meanwhile, our letter of 8 August, in response to the announcement of Director Peter Piot’s
retirement, has already had an impact. Last Wednesday, 19 August, Kara Hanson shared the draft candidate pack (accessible on the intranet here: https://lshtm.sharepoint.com/governance/Pages/director-recruitment-process.aspx ), and we were really pleased to see that some of the key personal traits they will be looking for include a commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as a people-centred approach to leadership and management. Kara Hanson will be accepting feedback on this process until 4 September. If you see something that’s missing or would like to get involved, let us know and we will compile those before sharing it!
Compensating and recognising anti-racism work at LSHTM
We are also finalising a new letter on the need to compensate and recognise the anti-racism work taking place at LSHTM. We advocate for properly resourcing this labour; integrating equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) criteria in professional performance assessments; communicating our work in a way that does not misrepresent its association with LSHTM leadership; and respecting the volunteer nature of our contributions when making demands or asking for input. We will share it with our networks as soon as it’s ready.
Joint BLM/DGH meeting with Kara Hanson
On 13 August, the BLM and DGH groups had a joint meeting to discuss, among other things, the proposed Race Equality Charter (REC), a self-assessment exercise that the School wants to perform (atively enact) to promote EDI. Together, our groups took a strong and united stand against this approach, arguing for the need to commission an objective, external assessment in order to uncover the root problems that enable racism to flourish. More news on this as it develops. It is important to note that DGH did not make a statement on the REC at the moment but support the use of an external review.
Council election and candidate statements
The Council elections end on Monday. One candidate was able to provide answers to the
questions we posed two weeks ago (see below). While others are on annual leave, we have
noticed that most candidates included their views on EDI in their candidate statement so we
hope that this has given everyone the information they needed prior to voting. We also want
to thank Dr. Mishal Khan for kindly taking the time to provide a statement, which is presented in full at the end of the newsletter as well as the other candidates’ statements.
Thank you for your understanding.
Invitation to present at the Global Health Lecture Series
Mark your calendar for 9 November at 17:15-18:15 , when Black Lives Matter- LSHTM has
been invited to speak at the Global Health Lecture Series (!). We’re very excited to join our
distinguished colleagues on this prestigious stage, and we hope you will be able to join us
Maximising the ripple effect: work with activists in other universities
We also spoke with activists at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and with the Paris
Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Paris), who were inspired by our work and have been tackling similar issues at their institutions. We hope to strengthen and extend this network in the coming weeks and months.