BAME vet student working group holds first meeting
A working group to better support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at UK veterinary schools held its inaugural meeting last month during which it confirmed its areas of work.
The joint RCVS/VSC (Veterinary Schools Council) group was formed following an RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group round-table discussion held last autumn.
Participants of the working group – including BAME student representatives, senior RCVS staff and UK vet school representatives - concluded that the immediate priority would be around the reporting structure for discriminatory incidents encountered on EMS or other work placements.
The working group agreed that further options would need to be considered, and a legal expert with experience in reporting mechanisms would be invited to the next meeting so that participants may consider different options to make recommendations.
Professor Pettitt, co-chair of the Working Group and a representative of the VSC on the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group, said: “I co-hosted the roundtable last year and found it fascinating and insightful but also recognised the considerable frustrations that the students felt and that’s why I am excited that this group has now got underway so we can focus on making progress and finding solutions to the issues that were raised.”
The joint round-table discussion held last autumn identified areas where students required additional support and discussed some of the discriminatory incidents they had encountered. These included:
- developing clear discrimination reporting structures, particularly for students on extra-mural studies (EMS)
- developing and supporting a group of role models within the vet schools amongst both the student body and faculty
- developing support structures for BAME students, with faculty training on how to do this.
Stephanie-Rae, co-chair and final year veterinary student at the RVC, said: "The willingness of this group to have student co-chair reflects appreciation for the student voice of our universities, and I feel honoured to be taking on this role. Especially for this group, representation of affected parties really matters and being able to give an unfiltered perspective of experiences will benefit all members.
“While this is not a permanent group, the report and recommendations that are produced will be actioned by the permanent Diversity and Inclusivity group, and always bringing in expert advice and lived experience where needed. We plan on sourcing expertise where necessary and should reflect on the efforts that have been made by other organisations, particularly in the last year.”