By Ellie Brown, News Subeditor
The 17-year-old activist called out Bristol SU's attitude to BAME students in a series of tweets posted several days before the ceremony.
Mya-Rose Craig, founder of Black2Nature, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree yesterday from the University of Bristol for her advocacy of environmentalism and efforts to engage others in climate and conservation projects.
She is thought to be the youngest ever recipient of the award in the UK.
However, in a tweet published on Friday 14 February, Mya-Rose called out Bristol Students' Union for its ‘terrible racist and islamophobic behaviour.’
Another tweet, posted on Saturday 15 February, also slammed Bristol SU’s recent open letter on racism to the University, accusing the organisation of ‘stealing & putting forward [BME] ideas & solutions as their own & excluding islamophobia’.
That includes students unions which are full of the privileged and ignorant. Terrible racist and islamaphobic behaviour coming out of @BristolUniversity Students Union undermining VME student groups & elected reps https://t.co/MFuIkFL5Bm— Birdgirl (@BirdgirlUK) February 14, 2020
Upon receiving her degree, Craig stressed the important of recognising 'that inequality in engagement creates inequality of opportunity'. She continued: 'an unequal world can never be a sustainable world.'
The 17 year old also called on 'everybody from every community to tackle the environmental crisis that we are finding ourselves in', commenting that 'slowly change is happening, but it needs to happen much faster'.
Black2Nature was set up in 2018 to help engage more children from minority ethnic backgrounds in conservation.
The big question here is the racism within @BristolUni #studentsunion. Why did they write this letter about BAME students’ problems without consulting them or their elected rep? Stealing & putting forward their ideas & solutions as their own & excluding islamaphobia? #racism https://t.co/4MfvUQVZMq— Birdgirl (@BirdgirlUK) February 15, 2020
The project includes nature camps in Somerset's Chew Valley, run by Craig and her mother, for VME (Visibly Minority Ethnic) primary schoolchildren - many of whom have never been camping before.
With only 0.6 per cent of conservationists identifying as VME, the not-for-profit enterprise also aims to increase this number.
Dr Rich Pancost, Head of Earth Sciences at the University, nominated Mya-Rose for the award. Speaking of his nomination, he said: 'To bestow a comparable honour on someone who is only 17 years old is not a decision we take lightly.'
'It is reserved for those who are leading truly special projects, courageous projects, transformative projects. Mya-Rose is doing exactly that.'
In a statement, a spokesperson for Bristol SU said:
'We are working in collaboration with the University, and the Bristol SU BME Network, to create a joint action plan around racism at our University, and will be releasing a further statement soon.
'Bristol SU is committed to tackling racism in all its forms, to ensure that all of our students feel supported and have a positive university experience.'
Featured Image: University of Bristol
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