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23rd May 2024

UoM’s new society ‘Diversify Politics’ on diversification, inclusivity, and campaigning on campus

Meet UoM’s newest society, Diversity Politics, who are seeking to bring about positive changes on campus
UoM’s new society ‘Diversify Politics’ on diversification, inclusivity, and campaigning on campus
Credit: Diversify Politics

The University of Manchester Students’ Union is home to over 400 societies that cover a variety of interests and causes. The latest addition to this array is the ‘Diversify Politics’ society, whose dedicated committee aim to open discussions on ways to foster greater inclusivity in the politics department and create inclusive spaces for ethnic minority students.

Diversify Politics has been in the works since last December, but became official in October earlier this 23/24 academic year. The society has already attracted attention across the student community having recently won ‘Best New Society’ of the year at the 2024 SU awards. Since its founding, this new society has continued to grow with roughly 80 members and over 400 followers on Instagram.

The society’s Co-president, Zeina, who is in her final year of Politics and International Relations, told The Mancunion that the idea for the society came about because of the committee’s shared experience of feeling underrepresented in their courses as ethnic minority students. This motivated the creation of Diversify Politics, with the purpose of creating safe spaces for ethnic minority students and campaigning for the University to increase BAME representation within politics courses. Events officer, Izzy, emphasised that she feels Diversify Politics is a “welcoming intersectional space that actively seeks to cater for the diverse needs of students.”

One of the ways this new society has facilitated this inclusive community is through an open forum it held this month. The forum presented prompts for attendees to reflect on their experiences as students of various ethnic minority backgrounds. The prompts triggered debates on how to make campus more diverse, the barriers present for people of colour in political participation, student experiences in tutorials and module content, and how students themselves can foster a more inclusive university experience.

The open forum was well received by attendees and the politics department, which has actively supported and worked with Diversify Politics to improve ethnic minority representation in the running of the faculty. Though the committee calls on the University to continue making changes, they commend the politics department for being engaged and proactive in the initiative.

The society runs a monthly book club where members get to choose what books they would like to read. So far, the committee – whose favourite political thinker is Edward Said – have held two book club events on Malcolm X’s biography and Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, which were both attended by a variety of students from different academic and social backgrounds. Another book club event discussed the influential essay Can the Subaltern Speak?, written by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, a South Asian political thinker.

The socials are not only designed to talk about issues regarding the diversification of politics courses but also aim to create a welcoming space for students to engage with new global perspectives and to celebrate them.

The committee would like to push the University to enact long-term change within courses and on campus. This includes decolonising the curriculum, working closely with politics lecturers to encourage changes in various aspects of the course, such as reading lists, and greater involvement in the BAME student-staff network.

The Diversify team is striving to create an open space that involves students from a variety of backgrounds and encourages any student, from an ethnic minority or not, to join the society and engage in its initiative. The society is planning more book clubs, as well as campaigning events, career fairs for students of colour, and is looking to collaborate with other societies to celebrate diversity.

The society will continue to deliver inclusive spaces for students and campaign for a more just campus in the next academic year, having just closed elections for the 2024/2025 committee. You can find more information about Diversify Politics on their Instagram account, here.

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