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Universities often extend deadlines to students who are experiencing difficult circumstances, such as personal trauma or family tragedy. A London university added a new category: Racial Trauma.
Goldsmiths, University of London, will now allow black students to cite cases of racial trauma as having affected their studies, giving the affected student extra time to submit assignments, The Guardian reported.
The move is the result of a campaign by the university’s student union to push Goldsmith to include racial trauma in the categories of “serious life events.”
Students won’t have to provide evidence of racial injury; their “self-certification” is enough.
Frances Corner, the warden at Goldsmiths, said, “Self-certification for this kind of support is common at universities and students are entitled to proper support when the need arises.”
“The [University] has agreed to our [Sabbatical officers’] proposal to include ‘racial trauma” as a reason to defer essays for Black & PoC students through self-certification, not an evidence-based approach,” said the Goldsmiths Student’ Union on social media.
Goldsmiths is the first UK university to formally recognize racial trauma as a specific category.
Larrisa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students, cheered on the decision: “For far too long, black and brown students have had to relive their trauma in front of decision-makers, who often have little to no understanding of racial trauma themselves.”
“Many universities published empty platitudes of support during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer,” Kennedy continued. “A year on, we must see tangible action. Institutions must tend to the welfare of students and staff of colour who are exhausted by racism, day in and day out.”