13th July 2020

Environment Cardiff dental school accused of racism and bias

Environment Cardiff dental school accused of racism and bias

Environment

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A letter to Cardiff University bosses lists widespread claims of racism at its dental school

Students at a Welsh dental school have written to university chiefs complaining of “racist behaviour and unconscious bias” from some teaching staff, fellow students and patients.

The letter seen by BBC Wales highlights claims at Cardiff School of Dentistry.

The authors claim black and ethnic minority students have been mocked and subjected to racist language.

Cardiff University says the letter “raises a number of extremely concerning issues”.

The letter is addressed to the senior leadership team at the dental school, which is based on the University Hospital of Wales campus in the city.

“We believe that as an educational institution, you are in the position to prevent and actively fight racism within our university community,” said the authors, who are unnamed.

“Therefore, we are writing to urge you to take action against racist behaviour and unconscious bias that takes place within the dental hospital and Cardiff University environment.”

It also highlights the wider issue of racism within dentistry, including one article which revealed black patients are more likely to have a tooth extracted rather than treated, compared with white patients

The students have asked the school’s management to release its own statement condemning all racism at the dental hospital, address the issues raised and to outline a plan of action to move forward.

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The letter calls for an action plan from university leaders

They added: “You must strive to represent diversity in the curriculum and in your teaching hierarchy, support students to learn and encourage them to be actively anti-racist.

“Just as we represent the dental school, you also represent us. We implore you to take this opportunity to enact real change.”

A Cardiff University official said: “We can confirm that we have received the letter.

“As a university and a school of dentistry we take allegations of racism extremely seriously.

“We have measures in place to ensure that allegations of this type can be investigated and appropriate action taken.”

The spokesman said it was important for the university and school to consider the content of the letter and to assess “what action is required in both the immediate and longer term”.

“We are committed to creating a community based on dignity, courtesy and respect. Racism has no place,” he added.

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