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The Free Black University Fund

“Education is at the heart of growth and transformation in our society. Today we stand at a critical juncture in our collective history – things cannot continue the same after this moment. It is imperative we focus on what the production of knowledge looks like after this point.”

– Melz Owusu, The Free Black University

The Free Black University is a radical program for transforming knowledge distribution, developed from a fundamental acknowledgement that universities have been and continue to be at the heart of the production of structural racism. The goal of the FBU is to create a space for free, anti-colonial education with a focus on Black Liberation. Implicit within these demands is an acknowledgement that the current structures of Higher Education are failing black students. With our central goal of dismantling white supremacy at Sussex, the Anti-Racism Working Group (comprising staff and students from UCU, Unison, UNITE, USSU, Decolonise Sussex and members of the BAME staff network), gives its full support to this project.

With their fundraising programme launched on 3 June 2020, the FBU team has already raised over £100,000 towards their target of £250,000. UCU Sussex has contributed £250 as a branch and we would encourage anyone who can to donate by following this link. The organisers have provided a range of donation suggestions, specifically stating what each amount will fund. The recommended donation for UK universities is £50,000 – less than the cost of putting two students through a 3-year degree. We are calling on the University Executive Group (UEG) at Sussex to donate this amount to the fund and the three campus unions will be putting this to them at our next joint negotiation meeting.

The UEG has spoken about its commitment to structural change (for example, by setting up the self-assessment group for the Race Equality Charter). In a statement supporting Black Lives Matter, the UEG proudly quotes their strategic framework, declaring: “If there was ever a time for a great university to stand on the sidelines, this isn’t it.” Making an economic contribution to the FBU project presents Sussex with an opportunity for serious, meaningful engagement with the essential fight to transform education. The Executive of the University of Sussex can go beyond rhetoric and get off the sidelines - but to do so they must offer material support to projects of black liberation such as FBU.

Post by the Anti-Racism Working Group

If you would like to donate to the fund, please visit their GoFundMe page here:


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