Oxford University under fire after admitting only one black Caribbean student during academic year

Last updated at 12:04 PM on 16th October 2010

Trevor PhillipsTrevor Phillips wants more ethnic pupils to be recruited from state schools 

Oxford University has come under fire after it was revealed that it only admitted one black Caribbean student last year.

The elite university recruited more than 3,000 students last year and almost 90 per cent of them were white.

Trevor Philips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission described the record of recruiting ethnic students to the country’s top universities as ‘dire.’

Suggestions have now been made that ethnic quotas should be introduced to insure more black and Pakistani students are given the chance to attend some of the best universities in the country.

But Oxford have dismissed the idea and said they would continue to work to recruit more undergraduates from diverse backgrounds.

Mr Phillips told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I personally can’t see that quotas are the answer but I am reluctant to rule out any possibility given that the situation is so dire and in some cases we appear to be going backwards.’

According to the newspaper just five black Caribbean students were given places at Oxford in 2008.

Mr Phillips said he believed more work needed to be to convince teenagers in state comprehensives to apply.

‘Universities have to get themselves out of their comfort zones and look in directions that they are not used – look past the independent schools,’ Mr Phillips added.

Black Caribbean school pupils have some of the worst GCSE results of any ethnic group in England.

Concerns have also been raised over ethnic segregation, after the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that less than 10 per cent of black students were enrolled at Russell Group universities, including Oxford.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321056/Oxford-University-admitting-black-Caribbean-student-academic-year.html#ixzz12Yn0C1ro

For an stimulating debate of the pros and cons of affirmative action, watch this lecture by Michael Sandel in his Justice series at Harvard. In Part One: Arguing Affirmative Action, Sandel describes the 1996 court case of a white woman named Cheryl Hopwood who was denied admission to a Texas law school, even though she had higher grades and test scores than some of the minority applicants who were admitted. Hopwood took her case to court, arguing the school’s affirmative action program violated her rights.


And then see this from the Guardian Data Blog: Facts are Sacred, which lists the participation of students of working class parents at each University.  Figures are taken from the official government source, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA – http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_search&Itemid=69) website.