Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

On Monday 1 June we released a statement on our website which you can read in full here or below. We urge everyone to support the cause, educate yourself and listen to the important voices. You can find the University statement.

We’ve started compiling a list of resources and support below which we hope you will find useful. If you have any additions to add, please tweet us at @ExeterGuild or email us at


Register your interest in Penny’s (Vice President Education) campaign launching next year on Decolonising the Curriculum.

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  • Anti-Racism Update from Ruby, VP Welfare & Diversity

    We are all aware of how urgently universities need to be striving towards true inclusivity and how becoming actively anti-racist needs to be a top priority from now on. 2020 has finally seen a rise in institutions being held accountable for racism and being confronted with how they can do better. This is something that us at the Guild, as well as University of Exeter, have been working extremely hard on over the summer. Here is a brief rundown of some of the things we have been working on:

    The Unlearn Collective

    - The Unlearn Collective was set up by a group of students earlier this year in order to hold the University to account on it’s claims of being anti-racist and attempts to decolonise the curriculum. The Collective, which was set up in June, states “The aim here is to not just learn antiracism but to unlearn racist practices and self-criticise: essentially, to look inward before we speak of our global outlook”. Since then, we have had two meetings with representatives from the Guild, the University and the Collective themselves, with plans for continuous contact going forward. From these meeting, a specific set of goals and plans have been put in place from both a University and Guild perspective.

    Changes the University are implementing:

    - Since the initial meeting with both the University and the Unlearn Collective, a budget of £25,000 has been secured for student-led projects around anti-racist practices in education. - They have also committed a budget of £2.5k to go towards supporting the decolonising network and allowing them to grow. - The University has also committed to hiring an Associate Academic Dean for Racial Inequality and Inclusion.

    These actions are hopefully the start of ensuring Exeter becomes an anti-racist institution that listens to its students and supports them in every way they can. At the Guild, we recently ran a course on racism for all student leaders in the coming year, led by the Diversity Trust. This training explored things such as white privilege, recognising what racism looks like and the importance of reporting/calling it out. The feedback from this session was really positive and we are keen to run more events like this throughout the year.

    It has never been clearer that organisations need to be doing more to combat racism, but hopefully, with the help of the student voice such as those at the Unlearn Collective, Exeter can continue to make steps towards becoming genuinely inclusive.

    If you want to get in touch to discuss how you can get involved, email Ruby at

    • Black Lives Matter

      Over the past week, we've seen protests and riots across America and the world following the murder of George Floyd. We are deeply saddened by another killing that is completely unjust, as is the continued racial profiling of Black people; we are devastated that this is still happening in 2020.

      Our sadness, heartbreak, and anger go out to his friends and family, and to all Black families who have lost loved ones to police brutality. We stand in solidarity with Black people in America, the UK, and the rest of the world, who continue to face discrimination and violence at the hand of their police and state. These events do not come out of the blue. They are built on systematic racism. We must take responsibility and do everything we can to address this and remove racism from our community.

    • Response to Learning to unlearn

      University of Exeter students have written an open letter to both the Students' Guild and University to express their frustration at the current university culture around race. You can find the open letter here.

      Please find our response below. You can also find the University's response here

      Dear members,

      Firstly, we wanted to thank you for taking the time to raise this hugely important issue with us. As a community, we need to address these issues together, so thank you to our members who have made such a passionate call for action.

      We absolutely recognise there is significant work to be done to ensure we can truly call our University an anti-racist, inclusive and safe place for Black students and students from minority ethnic backgrounds. In order to do this, we need to reflect on where we are as an organisation. For us to move forward on this issue it is essential that we have these internal discussions and ensure that the plans and promises we make to you, our members, are the right approach and can have maximum positive impact on students’ experience.

      We are committed to working with our community on this – as a membership led organisation, our direction going forward needs to reflect this, and as such we will be creating a plan that holds our members’ input at its centre.

      We support the University’s response to your letter and their pledged actions – ultimately this is an issue in which we need to be united on going forward to make real positive change on our campuses.

      As our plans develop, we will provide updates as often as we can, however, would urge students to:

      • Visit our Black Lives Matter portal – we want to collaborate with students as much as possible on this, so please get in touch with the Officers if you have any feedback on how we can develop this.
      • Attend Black Lives Matter: A Solidarity Demonstration, an event Penny Dinh, Vice President Education, is leading on Thursday 25 June from 15:30. The event live on Facebook and Zoom will provide a space to amplify Black voices, and a space to show our solidarity with the Black community at Exeter. Guest speakers can register here.
      • If you have been a victim or have witnessed discrimination, please report it to the University’s Speak Out platform.
      • Make use of the Students' Guild Advice Service and University's Wellbeing Service.

      We recognise that actions speak louder than words, and so we hope that we can prove our commitment to this cause in the coming weeks and months, and to make lasting change in the future. We look forward to working with each and every single student who has signed your open letter, and others who want to get involved, to make our campuses actively anti-racist.

      Your Students’ Guild

    • Support

      If you are experiencing any form of racism or oppression, please do report it via Exeter’s Speak Out platform. If your mental health is suffering, the University’s Wellbeing Centre is still open and contactable via email or phone call on 01392 724381 and You can also reach out to our independent Advice Service at

      There are also University and student communities that can offer support and be an inclusive environment:

      There are also external online services available digitally for Black students to contact for support and advice:

      Once again, the Guild would like to offer all our black students our solidarity and we are here for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know by emailing one of the Officers or at

      We regret to announce that we have made the difficult decision to postpone Exeter Respect on Campus (Tuesday 17 March) until further notice due to coronavirus concerns. This decision has been made following, careful risk-assessment, and taking into account advice related to covid-19.

      Ultimately the health of the students, staff, performers and volunteers is our primary concern.

      We are extremely disappointed to have to postpone; Exeter Respect on Campus promised to be a hugely important celebration of diversity, with an important message. Despite the cancellation of this, we will be focussing efforts on ensuring that diversity is celebrated, and that the important discussions to further inclusion will still have a place at our university. We will keep colleagues and students informed on plans when rescheduled.

      We would like to thank everyone who had already registered for tickets, as well as all the performers, volunteers and staff who had worked so hard to get us ready to host this event.

      Please continue to treat each other with kindness and compassion during this difficult time, and please respect the privacy of friends, colleagues and students. If you experience, or are witness to, any inappropriate behaviour please report it to the University via our Speak Out web pages.

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