suing black history course

A group of students are suing their university after it scrapped its black history course

They have hired lawyers due to ‘racial discrimination and breach of contract’

A group of students at The University of Chichester are taking legal action against their uni after it suspended its black history course.

The 14 students, who were all studying on the Masters History of Africa and the African diaspora course, have hired lawyers due to alleged racial discrimination and breach of contract.

In July 2023, the University of Chichester decided to stop the course to new students due to the costs of running it.

The university also made the course leader Professor Hakim Adi, the first African-British historian to become a professor of history in the UK and who was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize in 2023, redundant.

The students have gone through the university’s internal complaints procedure “without resolution” and said that the redundancy of Professor Adi has left them without support and supervision to complete their courses.

They also allege indirect race discrimination, claiming that they were subjected to less favourable treatment compared with students on courses where the cohort was not majority African Caribbean or black.

The students’ lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie said: “This sudden decision by the University of Chichester to close down this unique course has stopped our clients’ academic careers in their tracks.

“On top of that, the university has made an eminent and highly respected black professor of African history in the UK, who was last year nominated for the Wolfson History prize, redundant at short notice.

“In our clients’ view, the University of Chichester has clearly discriminated against them and breached its contract with them in its handling of this process.

“They are urging it to reverse this decision and ensure that they can resume their studies as soon as possible.”

A university person said that the claims made by the students were “inaccurate and misleading”.

They said: “For clarity, the MRes programme referred to has not been ‘terminated’ for existing students but is only suspended to new applicants pending a review. PhD students study individual programmes of research and should not be conflated with the MRes programme.”

“The university is committed to ensuring that all existing students are able to complete their studies successfully and that alternative teaching and supervisory arrangements are in place for these students.”

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