White and middle-class. This is the stereotype that permeates both Exeter and its University. In this issue we decided to investigate what this really means for students living and studying here. Considering Britain is now famed for its multi-culturalism, the stats around Exeter’s diversity are pretty scary. The results were unsurprising, with the overall numbers of black, minority and ethnic students decreasing year-on-year. It appears the campus’ homogeneity is only getting worse.
Equally shocking was the fact that only six and a half per cent of University staff come from a minority background, whilst BME students are performing worse in over 70 per cent of academic disciplines. Over on our sister campus in Penryn, one course pathetically had a 100 per cent white students just a few years ago. For a University that prides itself on providing a multicultural and diverse student experience, this is quite simply not good enough.
However, our ongoing lack of diversity is ultimately reductive – a range of backgrounds, cultures and creeds only makes for a more enriching experience when studying. If we’re all pale, seminar discussions become stale. The University must do more to attract and support prospective students from a multiplicity of backgrounds.
Elsewhere in news, equality continues to elude Exeter as we report on the University missing their target for state school admissions (page 3). That white, middle-class stereotype isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon at this rate.
On a lighter note, we were pleased to hear that Freshers’ Week complaints were down after last year’s shenanigans caused the cancellation of the Football Varsity. Sometimes in Exeter it can feel as though we live in a bubble, but it’s great to hear that students are being considerate and sensible on nights out. See page 5 for the full story.
It’s not just Exeter’s lack of diversity that is scaring us. This week’s issue is jam-packed full of spooky content in honour of the commercial fanfare that is Halloween. Highlights from our review sections include a delicious Devil’s Food cake recipe in Lifestyle (page 17), a rundown of the top Halloween thrillers in Arts & Lit (page 27) and an analysis of what makes Horror games great (page 35). As Autumn turns into Winter, do be sure to have a leaf through (geddit?), It’s a real (trick or) treat.
If you’re after a more lengthy read, we’ve nabbed some more high profile interviews again this week. As the (arguably tired and predictable) BBC show The Apprentice returns to our screens, we caught up with Exeter alumnus and former semi-finalist Solomon Akhtar. When he’s not too busy getting his kit off at the SSB, ‘Solly’ is always keen to impart his business acumen. See what he has to say about being a student entrepreneur over on page 12. Nish Kumar is the latest high-profile comedian coming to Exeter, and Arts & Lit chatted with the former XFM radio star to find out what to expect when he performs at the BikeShed Theatre next month (page 26).
Over in Screen we’ve departed from the silver screens of Sidwell Street as a couple of our reporters headed to London and reported straight from the BFI red carpet. Read their critical acclaim of recent releases such as The Assassin, High Rise and Gayby Baby on pages 24 and 25.
Finally, Sport have got all clued up on the players to watch when EUAFC take to St James’ Park and (hopefully) romp to Varsity victory next week. See page 38 for the preview.
Sarah Gough and James Beeson, Editors