A student-led campaign that promotes the anonymisation of job applications at Glasgow University has recently started on campus and is targeting all four of the student bodies and the University Careers Service, Club 21.
The campaign, which is called ‘Don’t Let Your Name Decide For You’ has been set up by a group of students who want to stop employment discrimination based on a person’s name. The idea for the campaign was started by fourth-year English student, Georgia Charalambous who stated to the Glasgow Guardian: “I had noticed that international people are not very well represented across campus in the student bodies and decided this needs to be changed.”
Charalambous went onto highlight the lack of response they had received from the University with regards to their concerns that some students were being turned down for opportunities due to foreign-sounding or appearing names. She stated the campaign grew out of this realisation that people were unaware of how people’s names could act as a form of discrimination and the general lack of response from the University. Charalambous commented that: “Poor feedback in the recruitment processes across campus and the reluctance to change things after we submitted our complaint letter… [made us realise] that even student recruiters don't understand that there's a problem here, and we've designed this campaign to show them that there is and it is time to change things.”
Glasgow University is currently in the process of ensuring the anonymisation of all job applications submitted to them. However, as the student bodies operate independently of the University there is no requirement for them to adopt the same policy. This is where the campaign claims they have been pushing for change. Their aim is for any application submitted to one of the student bodies for paid work or volunteering (such as Freshers’ Helper applications) to be considered without the possibility of name discrimination.
The policy of anonymous job applications is already in place at Edinburgh University Student Council and therefore, the ‘Don’t Let Your Name Decide’ team see no reason why the SRC and other student bodies should not adopt the same approach. Charalambous however did note that the responses they have received from the four student bodies have been positive and she claims that most representatives from student bodies have commented that the idea is "simply something they had never considered before."
The student campaign group have received the backing from the University’s Equality and Diversity Officer Mhairi Taylor to help garner support for their cause. Taylor has noted that the inclusion of people's names on applications allowed for potential exclusion and she stated that, “Revealing names on applications discloses cues about candidates’ ethnicity and gender and leads to potential unfair and largely unintentional exclusion."
The ‘Don’t Let Your Name Decide’ team will present their research and proposals to the student bodies on Tuesday 25th November. The outcomes of the meeting could mean Glasgow students will soon see positive changes where campus job applications are concerned. The campaign group argue that if their proposals were to be adopted then favouritism and sexism would be far more unlikely to occur and that the greater transparency anonymous applications provide will enable students from all backgrounds to be better represented on campus.