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Warwick University careers adviser at centre of racism row after law student claims she was singled out for being black

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Exclusive: Adviser allegedly quoted research and suggested BME candidates submit applications later than their white peers

Image via Instagram @universityofwarwick

A law student at the University of Warwick has accused her careers adviser of racism after allegedly suggesting during a seminar that black candidates tend to submit job applications closer to deadlines than their white peers.

The careers adviser is said to have namechecked Linklaters-backed research about unconscious biases, with the firm subsequently telling Legal Cheek that it is “not in a position to comment on how the research was used or presented by Warwick University”.

The university has told us it’s aware of these accusations but to date no complaint has been raised directly with the university.

The student in question, Mariam Abiru, is in her final year of a law degree at Warwick University. In a tweet that’s garnered hundreds of retweets and comments, she began a thread describing an alleged incident that took place at a careers seminar this week:

Abiru claims a Warwick careers officer discussed with students the disadvantages of handing in an application close to the deadline. Then, she claims:

A spokesperson for Linklaters told Legal Cheek:

We are proud of the work we have done to encourage people of all backgrounds to apply for opportunities at the firm but we recognise there is more to do to help improve diversity at Linklaters and across our industry. An important part of our efforts is dedicated to researching and understanding how people of different backgrounds, including ethnicity, experience our recruitment and training process. Where the research highlights differences, such as the timing of when applications are made that may have had an impact on Linklaters’ ability to recruit students, we are able to make improvements to our processes to help remove those barriers. We will continue to make every effort to ensure we recruit and retain the very best talent, regardless of ethnicity or gender. Understanding the often invisible or unconscious biases that people from any minority have to overcome is a vital component of those efforts

The student, who was schooled in Nigeria, also alleges the careers adviser said she’d been told black people are generally laid back. The thread continues:

Later, Abiru says the careers adviser started trying to back track. She then says:

Legal Cheek has taken steps to contact the student in question, but these have so far been unsuccessful. We have also reached out to the careers adviser for her response to the allegations, which we hope to publish as soon as possible. Meantime, a spokesperson for Warwick University told us:

The university is aware of reports of concerns about the content of a careers advice session in the university’s school of law. To date no complaint or concern has been raised directly with the university, nor the school of law, and we would encourage any student who has such a concern to make contact as soon as possible with the chair of the school or any other appropriate university officer so we can hear, be fully informed of, and address any such concerns.

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60 Comments

Ali G

Is it coz I is black?

(56)(22)

Anonymous

Shut up you moron

(31)(35)

Anonymous

Not sure you understand humour,

(20)(9)

Do better

You clearly don’t either..

(9)(12)

Anonymous

Nope, means 2nd and 4th posters both lack a sense of humour.

(6)(6)

Anonymous

The fact of the matter is it isn’t a joke.

(8)(11)

Libeturd Leftie

Legal Cheek comments section, where empathy, reflection and common decency wither on the vine.

(6)(7)

Anonymous

This is perhaps the only argument this student will ever make!!! Whole premise of research is predicated on understanding behaviours and addressing issues. How is that racist?

(42)(22)

Anonymous

Not really a fair statement when that research could be misquoted so easily and limiting factors are completely unknown.

(14)(4)

Trumpenkrieg

Yes, with you people there always has to be an error in the methodology whenever minorities are made to look less than some idealised supermen

(15)(8)

Anonymous

This article is literally about a careers adviser exposing her racist preconceptions you absolute twat.

(15)(10)

Trumpenkrieg

That is, if the twitter account from this person can be relied on.

Wouldn’t be the first ever #HateCrimeHoax

(10)(12)

Libeturd Leftie

That is rich coming from a person who blithely and blindly follows his namesake. Pertaining to be an alpha male, but all the world can see he is a spineless no nothing narcissist, who bristles at constructive criticism. The definition of a thin skinned in over his head simpleton.

By the way I am simply describing your namesake, for all I know you could be a fine person…

(2)(6)

Trumpenkrieg

What on earth are you talking about?

(3)(1)

Anonymous

“It’s not racist because it’s true” is an amazing denial of racism

(11)(12)

Anonymous

But what if it actually is true? As a matter of objective, measurable, detectable reality?

(10)(8)

Anonymous

That’s completely disingenuous. Even if it is “true” on the face of it, clearly there are underlying factors at play which go way beyond race.

(6)(5)

Libeturd Leftie

So all anecdotal conveyance of research is equal? Again common sense, who do you know she was even using the research correctly and or was quoting it correctly?

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Well intentioned research but always likely to fall into the hands of people lacking the skill to present it with the required sensitivity. A shame as how do you improve things other than by asking difficult questions?

(28)(7)

Anonymous

When you disagree with something or someone, pull out the race card. Instant win in any argument

(36)(24)

At a loss as to your point

What exactly do you define as the ‘race card’? If it is calling out institutional racism or objecting to being singled out on the basis of the colour of your skin – which is quite clearly what happened here – then surely you should have no issue with the use of this so-called
‘race card’, unless of course, you are a bigot.

(18)(18)

Anonymous

She disagreed with someone (who had misunderstood some research) saying that all black people are lazy. You don’t seriously find that contentious, and I seriously don’t think you could find your arsehole with both hands.

(6)(5)

A world running out of things to complain about

Her twitter feed reads like a detailed application for a full time job in victimhood.

(47)(19)

Some people couldn't care less about other peoples experiences yet have the audacity to criticise it

Rather than critiquing the legitimacy of another’s “victimhood” why don’t you educate yourself on the alleged cause of the inflictions..

(13)(19)

^

*other people’s.

Please return to tumblr/your safe space.

(11)(7)

Imperfect individual

Because you have never made a typo, right? I’m sorry my grammatical error offended you. I hope your comment made you feel better about your self.

(2)(5)

Big Dolla

*yourself

Make sure you don’t miss these errors, paralegal.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Cue the Frustrated Writer chronicling how this story from the intrepid reporter and kk’s follow up attempt to publish the career advisor’s response could result in the first sacking lc have effected.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

She was so offended that instead of filing a complaint/ raising her concerns directly with the university and allowing due process to be followed, she thought it would be better to post on twitter.

And thanks to Legal Cheek naming the person in question she has effectively (no pun intended) black-listed herself as a potential future trainee, because this article will flag her up as a delicate snowflake when recruiters are undertaking research.

(38)(8)

Baffled by your conclusion

It would be quite illogical for a law firm to reject an application from an outspoken student who shared an experience of being on the receiving end of a racially inflammatory contortion of statistics.

(7)(21)

Don't mind me, I'm simply lawyering

Or rather, to reject an application from an outspoken student on the basis of said student sharing an experience of being on the receiving end of a racially inflammatory contortion of statistics.

(5)(8)

Anonymous

Most of us were not in the seminar, thus I think it ill-advised to pronounce on whether or not the comments were racist.

Let’s try looking at this with another (difficult) example – the fact is, many women talk themselves out career advancement. Not all women, but many do. And it’s not all the fault of the patriarchy either. Plenty of women have started speaking about this topic – does it make them sexist, a hater of other women, or is it only sexist if a man does it?!

The point is this – we do women a disservice by not discussing this issue properly. This is obviously just one part of the issue (about women’s advancement) but tip-toeing around it helps no one. And not talking to women, the group whom are most affected, also helps no one. Perhaps the same can be applied to what the careers advisor was trying to do?

(9)(8)

Unimpressed by such blatant ignorance

If she wanted to open the floor to the causes of ethnic discrimination in graduate recruitment she would have discussed the widely known research on unconscious bias in the recruitment process and what Warwick is doing to counteract it. She would have coloured her points with her own research and broken down the study based on nationality and socio-economic background but she didn’t. Everyone with the slightest bit of knowledge on diversity knows that reviewing attainment of “black people” as a whole is utterly useless without segmenting the group by class and nationality. And yet she chose to not only ask the only two black women in sight to speak on behalf of all black people everywhere but to claim that they are all ‘laid back’ to add insult to injury. It’s a farce, it was divisive and is a mockery of discourse on diversity and discrimination.

(16)(6)

Anonymous

I don’t actually disagree with most of this (assuming that I accept how this incident was recounted, again, I wasn’t there etc.) BUT none of those points address the bigger issue. I am not trying to dismiss this woman’s experience and I do think it matters. I also think education and campaigning against racism, sexism etc, also matters.

However, there is another issue, and many might miss it in their ‘outrage’ over one incident – and that is the question of how those from certain communities advance in society. I hope the bigger point isn’t lost.

(1)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

The truth is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, transphobic and homophobic.

(16)(7)

Unimpressed by ignorance

No, you are merely describing yourself.

(10)(9)

Not as surprised as I should be

The adviser’s (and by extension, Warwick university’s) decision to use research intended to reduce discrimination to (discriminately) single out the few black applicants in the room while simultaneously perpetuating stereotypes was ironic at best and racist at worst.

Disgusting, unprofessional and unnecessary behaviour from a woman who quite frankly should know better.

Cue impassionned comments below by racism-deniers/”race card” spotters…

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(7)(12)

Warwick Law School alumnus

I know the career advisor, I am also from the BAME group. She had been incredibly instrumental and so supportive, helpful throughout my journey in getting a TC at a Magic Circle firm. I will go so far as to say that had I not met the said career advisor, I would not be where I am today. Although I am not disputing the student’s account of her experience at the talk, I can only vouch for my personal experience with the career advisor. I believe there must have been a misunderstanding.

(40)(2)

BAME!

🎼 I wanna live for-ever!!!🎶

Now check your privilege!

(3)(10)

Libeturd Leftie

This did make me chuckle… well done

(0)(3)

Another Alumnus

You are absolutely right, from what I have heard this blame is a complete misunderstanding.
Also, personally I could say only the best words about the career advisor and wish her strenght during such an unnecessary hysteria of her words being paraphraesed in a convenient way, purposely or not.

(20)(2)

Libeturd Leftie

If the student’s version is true, the advisor however well meaning opened herself up to criticising by singling out two people to speak on something they as individuals could not answer, and shouldn’t have been put in a position to answer.

Imagine singling out the white men in the room and saying why are you lot more prone to mass murder and/or pedophilia? The research shows that X% of white males will commit such crime what do you have to say for the whole male white cohort… well I’m listening??

(0)(3)

Anonymous

Look again at the colour of the northern grooming gangs and the terrorists blowing themselves up, like in Manchester. They ain’t whities.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

Thank for trying but do you refute the statistics that white males have greater propensity to be pedophile etc and as a white male ( if you are) can you answer as to why?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

7 likes and they’re all yours.

(2)(7)

Anonymous

Its not about you….understand that

(1)(1)

Anonymous

she dindu nuffin

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Most of you are filthy racists. What a surprise…

(10)(6)

Anonymous

Racists are worse than rapists, because racism is what results in many rapes. We need to start getting much more serious about this as a nation.

(5)(10)

Trumpenkrieg

Thinking that racism is worse than being a rapist is a litmus test for the modern leftist.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Que?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

WTF….this comment…..! I have no words!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I find research racist and problematic, we should all take anecdotal experiences as primary sources. Quoting research will only lead to more misogyny and racism. We wuz

(9)(1)

Anonymous

Can’t people make comments and share their experiences without it being blasted online!! LC even said they tried to contact the person of interest and received no feedback….isnt that a sign that they didnt want their business blasted to the WWW but wanted to share to friends etc without now being ridiculed by clearly racist LC viewers…. do better Legal Cheek.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

If she wanted to share to friends etc. then she should get herself into a group whatsapp or something.

If you choose to post something on the internet, and particularly in an arena such as social media, then you know, and should expect, what comes from that.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

ahh.. the irony of the privileged white commenting so passionately on the unconscious bias from another privileged white, in an industry dominated by the privileged white..

(3)(6)

LOL

Yet you are all so obsessed with joining this industry and commenting on it.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

There is a legacy of child abuse which runs back to the white men who fought hard wars for the uk and whose kin still live here. Child abuse as a malfunction or side effect of the terror of a hard war passed down from first to second generation becomes normalised child rearing behaviour if not held in check from second to third generation. The child abuse in football will be linked to that, in my opinion. As white British is still the majority demographic for the age of those covered by the statistics, it produces the data of majority white paedophiles.

It can probably be treated as a phenomenon.

There is a newer phenomenon in this country of grooming gangs linked to you know what. The phenonomen is apparently found in other countries where you know what is practised.

It was always claimed for communism that after the revolution people would change.

You can see that if it is true that communism would change people, then the absence of war in a communist state, and the preference for holy atheism would decrease child abuse in the next generation regardless of the creed colour or sex that came under its influence.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Clearly not ready for the real world .

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.