South East Wales

Cardiff University accepts race report after play row

Cardiff University Image copyright Thinkstock

Cardiff University leaders say lessons are being learnt after a report into racial equality at its medical school.

An inquiry was launched in June last year following reports that face paint was used to impersonate a staff member in a student-led performance.

It caused offence to eight students of African heritage, prompting the review by Prof Dinesh Bhugra from King's College London.

He sets out 13 recommendations to help the university avoid similar incidents.

The college has accepted all of the recommendations, which include:

  • Actively discouraging offensive stereotyping of any person or group
  • Increasing the diversity of staff
  • Improving complaints' procedures and ensure there are clear guidelines for complaints about racism
  • Clarifying structures surrounding equality and diversity initiatives in the university
  • All university staff should receive regular training in diversity, including on race, gender and sexual orientation

The report was sparked by complaints to officials following a student production called "Anaphylaxis", and led to 30 students being suspended from clinical practice for their part in the show.

'Address equality issues'

Prof Bhugra said: "Whilst the university and School of Medicine did their best to deal with this incident in accordance with its established procedures, our report does highlight a number of specific and overarching issues that the university needs to consider and address.

"Our recommendations are intended to help the university avoid similar incidents in future and address wider equality and diversity issues identified.

"We are encouraged by the extremely positive way the university - at all levels - engaged with our work and its clear commitment to equality and diversity. We also welcome the university's commitment to take action in response to our recommendations."

Responding to the report on Wednesday, Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor Prof Colin Riordan said: "Whilst the review was prompted by an incident involving our medical students this was not about pointing the finger of blame or repeating the investigation undertaken by the university - rather it was about highlighting important areas of change that will help avoid similar incidents in the future.

"As a university we accept the report's recommendations and are already undertaking a number of proactive measures to address them.

"Our message is clear: offensive stereotyping of any person, or group of persons, is not acceptable."

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