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RIBA, not schools, lacks initiatives on access . . .

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It is a pity that the AJ rose to Paul Hyett's bait and reported his deliberately inflammatory remarks made at the Stephen Lawrence Trust Debate which I chaired at the RIBA.

His accusation that schools of architecture are racist because of their 'exclusive' application procedures simply does not stand up to any scrutiny.While most universities have had policies to widen access in place for years, the RIBA has only just this month got an equal opportunities policy on to the starting blocks, aeons after all other public institutions and bodies. This shocking tardiness on the part of the RIBA is surely a better indication of institutional racism and sexism than Hyett's misjudged accusations against the schools.

His attitude was similar to the other presidential candidates, who chose to place the blame elsewhere while conveniently ignoring the historical lack of initiative that the RIBA has taken to widen access to the profession. The pathetically low percentages of ethnic minorities and women in architecture (compared with other professions) bears witness to this failure of the RIBA.

I can only hope that Hyett and the other candidates listened carefully to the informed debate and take note of the positive actions suggested by the many black architects in the audience.

Professor Jeremy Till, University of Sheffield

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