CUBO’s Carol Thomas appointed LBU Commission chair

  • 3rd July 2024

CUBO EDI lead, Carol Thomas, has been appointed the new chairman of the Living Black at University Commission.

Thomas, who is accommodation manager at the University of the Arts, London, joined the CUBO board in 2023 to lead on the development and implementation of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy.

The strategy aims to support EDI transformation in commercial and campus services and create an inspiring culture where all students and staff can thrive.

Living Black at University (LBU) was a ground-breaking report into Black students’ experience in UK student accommodation, commissioned by Unite Students and carried out by Halpin Partnership in 2022.

The research explores the experiences of Black students across university accommodation and private halls of residence, amplifying their voices and stories to the wider higher education (HE) sector.

The findings were challenging and led to the creation of a sector-wide LBU Commission to take forward the recommendations of the report and embed these in the HE sector.

The original report shared research findings and recommendations – and in 2023 a new report was published, all about how to put those recommendations into practice with help from the Commission.

The report also reports on the progress of actions so far, which include holding the first Living Black at University Conference in March 2023; rolling out a Black services directory and toolkit to support universities to create their own; and creation of the EDI Data Maturity Framework to help universities and accommodation providers address gaps in their ethnicity data.
The Halpin research team has also collaborated with the Commission conveners to create a toolkit for HE institutions and accommodation providers who want to replicate the research with their own students.

In 2024 Unite Students partnered with CUBO to jointly lead a new phase of the Living Black at University Commission. This partnership will take further national action to support equity, inclusion, and belonging in student accommodation and wider campus services across the UK.

Thomas said: “Every student deserves to feel that they belong.

“The Living Black at University Commission is at the forefront of creating positive change to finally address the gap and ensure black students feel safe, seen, supported, and empowered to succeed.

“It’s an honour to step into the role of chair, working together with Unite Students to drive meaningful change across the sector.”

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