Monday, 15 August 2011

Academia, Liberation, Equality, and Diversity

I must confess I missed this story when it appeared in the Times Higher as it had a rather bland headline. No fear of missing it in Pink News however. They scream the headline 'Academia Has Ignored LGBT Issues'. These news stories follow the publication by the National Union of Students (NUS) of a briefing document entitled Liberation, Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum which explores the issues of liberation, equality and diversity in high education curriculum's. The report seems to bear very little to the media coverage associated with it. You can check out the briefing document/report here.

It isn't just about sexuality, it's about disability, race and any other discrimination that can take place. The idea is that 'non-traditional' (in the language of the report) students should be catered for. For example, family law problems might commonly include same-sex couples in exam problem questions, but what about contract law, or commercial law, or tort?

In my experience, academia has actually been addressing these issues for years and the ratcheting up of quotes by NUS folks in a bid to get a headline (rather than base them on the substantive report) coupled with the near hysterical academic reactions on the Times Higher story are both misplaced responses.

This was a well meaning report that seems to have suffered a PR disaster. I'd be interested in hearing the thoughts of fellow academics and students on this.

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