‘Is Radboud doing enough when it comes to diversity?’

02 Jul 2020

Assistant professor Ross Kang wrote an open letter to the executive board. 'Glancing at RU's management and governance, does the level of diversity at the decision-making table match RU's reputation, ambition and outlook?'

To the board,

My grandparents were hard-working visible-minority immigrants. My parents are. I am too. That feeling of being treated or viewed differently based on skin colour is one with which I am familiar.

When I read about the events unfolding in the wake of the senseless killing of George Floyd, I feel anguish and astonishment, yet at the same time I am hopeful for progress.

Ross Kang. Photo: website RU

I was heartened to hear Prime Minister Rutte publicly admit, even in an egalitarian and pluralistic democracy such as this one, to ‘systemic problems’ of racism and discrimination. It’s an important moment. And it’s an opportunity for all of us to engage in constructive dialogue about discrimination of all forms at all levels of Dutch society.

As one of few visible-minority employees in the permanent academic faculty, I feel compelled to point out the opportunity that lies before Radboud University too.

By fostering a more inclusive and accepting environment, RU has much to gain. Educational and intellectual culture expands through a broader array of voices and viewpoints. Reducing racial discrimination and improving social justice and mobility can and should naturally be an important plank in RU aims towards equal opportunities for all, better relevance to society at large, and broader internationalisation.

Lower diversity at RU was already reported upon earlier at Vox, specifically with respect to the undergraduate student population. But without further systematic study, we aren’t abreast of the full situation. Glancing at RU’s management and governance, does the level of diversity at the decision-making table match RU’s reputation, ambition and outlook? Does RU have robust policy and mechanisms for monitoring and combatting bias and discrimination? Are we doing our utmost as a community to ensure that all voices are welcomed, heard and respected? I humbly call on the leadership of this university, as well as student and union representation, to embrace this urgent challenge.

Ross Kang
(Assistant professor Mathematics)

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