University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor backs Black Lives Matter movement

THE city’s university has thrown its full weight behind the Black Lives Matter movement which has seen solidarity protests taking place in Guidlhall Square.

By Neil Fatkin
Friday, 5th June 2020, 11:19 am
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 5:07 pm
Thursday's Black Lives Matter protest in Guildhall Square 
Picture: Habibur Rahman
Thursday's Black Lives Matter protest in Guildhall Square Picture: Habibur Rahman

People from all ethnicities have been protesting around the globe to show their support for the anti-racism movement taking place in the US following the death of George Floyd after he was restrained by police.

With a high proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students it’s a situation which is of particular concern to the University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor, professor Graham Galbraith.

In a statement on the university website, professor Galbraith said: ‘I have been watching with great shock and sadness the harrowing images of the death of George Floyd in the United States. I, of course, cannot possibly imagine how our BAME students and staff are feeling when seeing a different value being placed on life depending on race.

Vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, Prof Graham Galbraith, has spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘I stand firm with our Students’ Union and the wider university community in condemning what has happened, hoping that our voices of collective outrage will lead to major changes in society.

‘If even one black person anywhere is treated differently because of the colour of their skin, it is sickening and enraging. We are all obliged across all our communities, to stand firm with those so woefully treated.’

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Guildhall Square filled by protest for Black Lives Matter

Professor Galbraith feels the city’s university can play a leading role in narrowing the socio-economic gap which underpins racial tension and division.

He added: ‘As a university, I am painfully aware that we must also do much more to ensure that in all that we do we provide equality of opportunity and success for all our students and those we work with.

‘I believe that education can change lives and open up opportunity and this makes it even more important that we do more to reduce the BAME attainment gap, while at the same time reflecting our diverse society among our staff community.’

Wednesday evening saw Stand Up To Racism Portsmouth hold a Justice For George demonstration in Guildhall Square which was followed yesterday afternoon by a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the city.

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