As students and staff contemplate returning to campus after a long time away, I am moving in the opposite direction. After 13 years as an academic, in love with my subject and with teaching, and in the midst of a pandemic, I’m leaving – to join the police and contribute to society in a different way.So declares Eddie Tembo. But ... why?
As a black academic in a UK university, I became accustomed to defending myself to students and sometimes to staff. “Yes, I really do have a doctorate.” “No, it was not awarded to me to fill a quota.” At early career conferences I encountered disbelief that I could have published a book.
Well, yes, and how much of this is fallout from the sort of affirmative action projects and schemes that the progressives have demanded?
I’ve had painful experiences at the hands of former colleagues, including the use of racist language and the overt propagation of racist stereotypes.
Such as? We get no examples in the article. We never do, do we, Reader..?
More subtle racism was harder to deal with, such as sidelining (always hard to prove) or the use of strategic appointments – a modern variant of the old boys’ club – to fill vacancies.
Ah, yes, the old 'I can't prove it's racism but that's what it must be' gambit. But ... why didn't you say anything at the time?
What I perhaps should have done was to report every incident to my line managers. Instead, I remained largely silent, confiding only in colleagues, friends and family. It is hard to say why it was difficult to speak up. Concern about being asked to provide tangible evidence of racism, not being supported, or simply being labelled a troublemaker by a management body that was far from ethnically diverse were all factors.
So you'd have fely better complaining to others of your own race? But we're the racists, not you?
There has been some recognition of my work. I gained fellowship status of the Higher Education Academy. I was nominated for or won student-led awards: best dissertation supervisor; inspirational teaching; most inspiring lecturer; outstanding personal academic tutor. In 2019 I was shortlisted for a Nottinghamshire Black Achiever’s award.
And that wasn't enough to convince you?
Despite this I had grown increasingly disillusioned by the lack of diversity and felt more needed to be done – an effort with which I had indicated I was willing to assist.By leaving? For a 'company' that clearly hasn't done any due diligence into the sort of person they are hiring?