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Black Lives Matter: An open letter to Business School students and staff from Professor Steven McGuire

Professor Steven McGuire

Dear Business School staff and students,

The murder of George Floyd has produced an outpouring of grief and anger throughout the engaged, diverse and international community that I am proud to call our School. Understandably, it has been an especially difficult time for our Black students, many of whom have overcome incredible structural barriers to become valued members of our community. On many measures of violence and social deprivation, black people suffer more - and that is as true in the UK as it is in the US. The University of Sussex Business School condemns racism and racialised violence and stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

While it is clear that universities have an obligation to take a moral stand at moments of social transformation and to challenge injustice in the broader world, it is equally clear that universities do not stand apart from the racist structures that underpin our society. Our School has always been, and will continue to be, an anti-racist institution. As Dean, I pledge to redouble the School’s efforts at critical self-reflection in this regard. We are committed to the BAME ambassador scheme, and work is already underway to make our curriculum more diverse and inclusive. We will also appoint our Equalities and Diversities Champion to our Senior Management Team. I accept there is plenty more to be done, and I sincerely encourage students to contact me if they wish to highlight areas we could improve.  

As an initial step to facilitate more open dialogue following recent events, Farai Jena (Business School Director of Teaching and Learning) and Rashaad Shabab (Senior Lecturer) will be hosting a special online discussion. The session will provide a space for students in the School affected by these events to come together to express their grief and anxieties and to gain strength and support from one another. We plan to hold this on 19th June from 3-5pm. More details will follow.

I know that for some of you the lateness of this response has been a source of concern and hurt. My initial view as Dean was that the University's statement spoke to our entire community and reflected our shared values. However, both staff and students have pointed out that such a view did a disservice to the depth of community within the Business School. I truly regret this error and the consequent delay in addressing this issue. 

Kind regards,


​Steven McGuire
Dean and Head of School

University of Sussex Business School

By: Serena Mitchell
Last updated: Wednesday, 17 June 2020