January 31, 2016 9:30 am
Updated: January 31, 2016 1:09 pm

UK Prime Minister ashamed of lack of diversity in universities, armed forces

British Prime Minister David Cameron addresses world leaders at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.

AP Photo/Michel Euler

LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron says he will make universities disclose what proportion of poor and ethnic minority applicants they admit, in an attempt to end racial and class discrimination that “should shame our country and jolt us to action.”

Writing in the Sunday Times newspaper, Cameron said that “if you’re a young black man, you are more likely to be in a prison cell than studying at a top university.”

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He said universities like Oxford, which he attended, are “not doing enough to attract talent from across our country.” Of 2,500 undergraduates who started at Oxford in 2014, only 27 were black, he said. Working-class white males are also underrepresented in higher education.

Cameron said the senior ranks of the military and large corporations also were failing to include enough people from ethnic minorities and working-class backgrounds, as a result of “ingrained, institutional and insidious” discrimination.

“I don’t care whether it’s overt, unconscious or institutional – we’ve got to stamp it out,” he wrote.

Cameron has made improving social mobility and equal opportunity central to his brand of “one nation” Conservatism.

On Sunday he announced that he has appointed Labour lawmaker David Lammy to investigate bias in the criminal justice system, in particular why black offenders are more likely to be jailed than white people convicted of the same crimes.

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