BAME mentoring of white academics fizzles in Cambridge

BAME mentoring program is about bringing different ethnicities together and creating an environment where all can thrive. However, the program has faced challenges with some speculating that it might be shutting down.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (BAME) mentoring scheme for senior white peers at Cambridge University is facing difficulties according to Joanna Jasiewicz, an equality and diversity consultant. Jasiewicz also expressed fears that the program may shut down soon if the levels of dissatisfaction with the BAME mentoring program continue to grow.

Bame mentoring program

She highlighted that the project faced hurdles from both the senior white staff and BAME members who failed to make it work. One of the major problems was that the senior staff did not take the program seriously. There were complaints from the BAME staff that senior staff was failing to watch their educational videos and taking the matter seriously.

The program was launched last year to address structural racism and better relation between staff in the university. The idea was to have a working environment where all staff understood each other’s point of view. The program had also been hailed as one that would bring about positive ‘institutional change’ in the university.

Program participants

Some of the white senior peers involved in this program include vice-chancellor, Prof Stephen Toope, senior academics and managers in the university. The aim was to encourage these staff to have the confidence to challenge racism and skills to address it at the university.

BAME mentoring staff reported experiencing uneasiness while dealing with the mentees. They started sometime they felt the program was not being taken seriously. They also experienced emotional labor while trying to help their peers to better understand different ethnicity on the campus and how they can stand up against racism in the university.

Addressing the rumors that the program is shutting down, a spokesperson for the university said the information was not true. He continued by saying the university appreciated the effort from the BAME mentoring volunteers and the university was taking the feedbacks of the program seriously.


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