Ongoing Projects against Racism in Higher Education

How do higher education institutions in Switzerland tackle racism? What projects and initiatives exist? In this section we introduce two examples of how racism in higher education institutions could be addressed: the project “Empowerment und Verlernen von Rassismus” – which is part of the P-7 program 2021-2024 Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunities in University Development – as well as the campaign “We need to talk” at the University of Bern.

Empowerment and Unlearning of Racism – A P-7 Project at the University of Applied Sciences Bern

Racism manifests itself in various ways: through structural exclusion and institutional discrimination, as well as in looking away, trivializing, and not acting in the face of racialized discrimination, or in the silencing of racialized individuals, whether unintentional or not. This occurs both outside and within higher education. Yet, critical reflection – also on one’s own involvement in dynamics of devaluation, oppression, and marginalization – remains uncommon in these institutions.

As part of the Empowerment und Verlernen von Rassismus headed by Stefanie Duttweiler and Annina Tischhauser, formats for reflection and (un-)learning were developed to enable people to name racism in everyday academic life and to think and act in anti-racist ways. To this end, a learning space for white lecturers and an empowerment format for racialized students were developed.

Read more about this innovative project and its formats:

Stefanie Duttweiler, Annina Tischhauser (2024): Wie Rassismus im Hochschulkontext hör- und besprechbar wird

Gina Buonopane, Rahel Meteku (2023): Rassismuskritik an der Hochschule – Empowerment für Studierende

Ein Gespräch über das Verlernen von Rassismus mit Tzegha Kibrom

We Need to Talk – A Campaign Against Racism at the University of Bern

In the fall of 2023, the University of Bern launched its first campaign against racism, called "We need to talk". The primary aim of this campaign was to draw attention to the University’s newly created contact point against racism. Through a poster campaign, numerous terms currently used in anti-racism discourse were collected, thereby creating a common vocabulary to name and label racism. In addition, an online reporting tool has been created where racialized incidents can be reported. You can find out more about the University of Bern's commitment against racism here.