Calling out Racism in University Classrooms: The Ongoing Need for Indigenisation of the Curriculum to Support Indigenous Student Completion Rates
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students continue to experience racism in Australian university classrooms. The Reconciliation Australia Barometer report (2022, p. 5) recently noted that experiences of racial prejudice have increased for Indigenous people with 60% of Indigenous people who responded to the survey experiencing at least one form of racial prejudice in the past six months. Many universities are attempting to implement action against racism and there have been concerted efforts to Indigenise curriculum across numerous universities. But there are many challenges and complexities to this process and more work is needed to increase cultural competency of university staff and students. This article explores findings from a National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) funded project that focused on “what works” to support Indigenous students to complete their degrees. This article draws on data from interviews with graduates that highlight the perceived experiences of racism in the classroom from peers and staff and the need for further Indigenisation of the curriculum to improve Indigenous student completion rates. The article concludes by discussing recommendations for universities to create a safer environment for Indigenous students. These recommendations echo previous ones (e.g., Behrendt et al., 2012) yet they have not yet been adequately addressed by universities.