By Tirion Davies
Students at Cardiff School of Dentistry have written to Cardiff University, stating that black and ethnic minority students have been subjected to racist language.
The letter, seen by BBC Wales, was addressed to the senior leadership team at Cardiff School of Dentistry and discussed complaints of “racist behaviour and unconscious bias” from teaching staff, some students, and even patients.
“We are writing to urge you to take action against racist behaviour and unconscious bias that takes place within the dental hospital and Cardiff University environment,” said the authors, as quoted by BBC Wales.
The letter also reportedly highlights a wider issue of racism within the dentistry industry.
Authors are said to have included an article that indicates black patients are more likely to have teeth extracted rather than treated when compared with white patients.
The students have asked Cardiff School of Dentistry to release their own statement, condemning all racism at the dental hospital.
The letter also reportedly asks that the dental school addresses the issues raised in the letter and outline a plan of action moving forward.
Students, as quoted by BBC Wales, added:
“You must strive to represent diversity in the curriculum and in your teaching hierarchy, support students to learn and encourage them to be actively anti-racist”.
In a statement made by a Cardiff University spokesperson, Cardiff School of Dentistry confirmed they had received a letter from its students and expressed,
“the letter raises a number of extremely concerning issues and alleged incidents. As a University and a School of Dentistry we take allegations of racism extremely seriously. We have measures in place to ensure that allegations of this type can be investigated, and appropriate action taken”.
A message written to all dental students today disclosed that the School of Dentistry is “committed to a community based on dignity, courtesy and respect” and also remarked, “Racism has no place in our school”.
The message remarked that the allegations were wide-ranging, including allegations of comments being made to students by staff and comments on the “ethnic composition” of the academic staff of the school, selection procedures and current teachings on racism and culture.
The interim Head of the School of Dentistry told students that the Senior Management Team would be meeting daily to consider the issues raised by the letter and find appropriate ways of addressing these issues.