(Updated statement, June 7th)
On Sunday, May 31st, St. Columba’s College was contacted by a former pupil of the College, who bravely shared with us her experiences of racism while attending the school. Her actions motivated other people, both former and current pupils, to share similar experiences. We can only imagine how difficult it was for the young people involved to write down those experiences. We thank them for having the courage to bring these matters to our attention.
The Board and Management of St. Columba’s College is taking these matters very seriously and are taking a number of steps to address and respond to the issues raised.
The College has established an independent review to consider the issues raised by the pupils and former pupils and specifically to evaluate whether there is a culture of racism, direct or indirect, within the College and, importantly, to make appropriate recommendations arising out of the review. This review is being conducted by an experienced legal and governance professional and will involve others with expertise in the area of cultural diversity, with direct experience within an educational setting. We have asked those working on the review to conduct it within a 6 week period. This is to allow sufficient time to ensure that the process is thorough and robust.
The College is committed to shining a searchlight into these issues, which are of the utmost importance to the College community and are part of a wider discourse in society. I very much hope that the conversation which will ensue from this process will be a catalyst that will allow us to ensure the care for our pupils is of the highest standard. Where there are lessons to learn we will not be afraid learn to them.
Mark Boobbyer, Warden of St. Columba’s College