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College students taking authorized motion towards Chichester College for suspending black historical past course

A gaggle of scholars are taking authorized motion towards a college alleging discrimination and breach of contract after it “suspended” a black historical past diploma for brand spanking new candidates.

The 14 college students had been all finding out on the Masters by Analysis (MRes), Historical past of Africa and the African Diaspora course or conducting analysis for a PhD on the College of Chichester when it made the choice to halt the programme for newcomers in July 2023 due to the prices of working the course.

The college additionally made the course chief Professor Hakim Adi, the primary African-British historian to change into a professor of historical past within the UK and who was shortlisted for the Wolfson Historical past Prize in 2023, redundant.

The scholars have gone by way of the college’s inner complaints process “with out decision” for his or her declare that the departure of Prof Adi has left them with out enough supervision to finish their research.

They’ve now employed Leigh Day solicitors to pursue a civil declare alleging that the college is in breach of contract and the agency issued a ‘letter earlier than motion’ on their behalf on February 15.

Leigh Day companion Jacqueline McKenzie stated: “This sudden resolution by the College of Chichester to shut down this distinctive course has stopped our purchasers’ educational careers of their tracks.

“On prime of that, the college has made an eminent and extremely revered black professor of African historical past within the UK, who was final 12 months nominated for the Wolfson Historical past prize, redundant at brief discover.

“In our purchasers’ view, the College of Chichester has clearly discriminated towards them and breached its contract with them in its dealing with of this course of.

“They’re urging it to reverse this resolution and guarantee positive that they’ll resume their research as quickly as attainable.”

Prince Harry and Meghan on the College of Chichester

(Getty Photos)

A college spokeswoman stated that the claims made on behalf of the scholars had been “inaccurate and deceptive”.

She stated: “For readability, the MRes programme referred to has not been ‘terminated’ for current college students however is simply suspended to new candidates pending a evaluate.

“PhD college students research particular person programmes of analysis and shouldn’t be conflated with the MRes programme.

“The college is dedicated to making sure that each one current college students are in a position to full their research efficiently and that various instructing and supervisory preparations are in place for these college students.”

In a linked case, the Black Fairness Organisation (BEO) can also be bringing authorized motion and has issued a judicial evaluate of the college’s actions.

Kehinde Adeogun director of authorized providers at BEO, stated: “Suspending the course with out session when the problems are nonetheless prevalent, decreases the chance for change, the goal of which is to see the efficient inclusion of black historical past into the curriculum that’s taught and studied in UK colleges, particularly within the context of key debates round decolonising the curriculum.”

Prof Adi stated: “On account of the MRes we inspired many extra black college students to embark on PhD analysis.

“We established one of many largest cohorts of black postgraduate historical past college students within the nation.

“On account of the measures taken by the College of Chichester, these college students have been left with out acceptable supervision and their research have been fully disrupted.”

Jabari Osaze, a MRes scholar stated: “Chichester college ought to have targeted its efforts on recruiting extra college students like me however as a substitute it appears they undervalued the programme.

“They’ve handled their college students and the world-renowned knowledgeable historian who ran the programme extraordinarily poorly.

“They’re now providing educational assist to MRes college students’ steering by students who aren’t educated within the historical past of Africa and the African diaspora.

“It has been painful to be disregarded on this method.”



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