What events are happening?
Your Part Time Officer for Widening Participation Students, Kieran Barry,
has organised 4 events to form part of the "Lets' Talk About
Classism" event series. You can find more about the events below:
Wednesday 26 April 2023, 2.00pm - 4.00pm:
Let's Talk about Classism: Widening Participation Community Event
(Free Pizza and Soft Drinks) (warwicksu.com)
Thursday 27 April 2023, 1.00pm - 2.00pm:
Let's Talk about Classism: What is Widening Participation and How can
Higher Education Communities advance further? A talk from Lee Elliott
Major OBE (warwicksu.com)
Thursday 04 May 2023, 1.00pm - 2.00pm:
Let's Talk about Classism: How does class impact the experience and
voice of WP Students? With insights from Kieran Barry, Thalia
Sheriff-Horner & Report and Support (warwicksu.com)
Thursday 11 May 2023, 1.00pm - 2.00pm:
Let's Talk about Classism: How does class impact labour market
prospects & what more can be done? With Sarah Atkinson
Other Ways to get involved:
Check out our series of videos to accompany the campaign below! We have the
first one embedded, and the rest of them will first go live on
@warwicksuofficial - both on Tiktok and Instagram, so keep your eyes
We asked some students from Widening Participation backgrounds what
their experiences of indirect and direct classism looked like, and what
effective allyship means to them. The videos will be added below as they are
added to our social media.
Additionally, there are a range of societies affiliated with the SU which
you can join which focus on social mobility and Widening Participation
– these include:
The 93% Club Warwick -
BASE Law -
Warwick Inspire -
What is Classism & Further Information
What is Classism?
Classism in dictionaries is often defined as "a belief that
a person's social or economic station in society determines their value
in that society" , "behavior that reflects this
belief : prejudice or discrimination based
on class" or "the systemic oppression of the lower class and middle class to the advantage of the upper class"*. And whilst all true , all of the different definitions almost
always miss the ways in which classism continues to be perpetuated
throughout the world, even in today. Classism, much like any other
form of prejudice or discrimination, often holds a mix of institutional,
embedded causes, but also often can find itself woven unintentionally into
To give you an idea of what Classism can look like, we've partnered up
with the 93% club at warwick, and other WP students, to create the board
below, in which students have answered in their own words "What is
classism" and "What does it look like?"
*Definitions from Merriem Webster Dictionary
What does Classism look like?
Classism can take many different forms, as shown above. It can be indirect
or direct, embedded into institutions and communities, and also affects many
of the students within our own community.
Within the university, indirect classism can involve unequal access to
certain opportunities to students from working-class and/or Widening
Participation backgrounds, or indirectly cause discomfort or upset without
intention. Practically, this can look like restrictive prices to accessing
societies and sports clubs, questioning why someone is working so much
alongside their degree, commenting on someone having not been on a
particular holiday when they have been unable to afford it… The prior
instance can exclude members of the university community from taking part in
opportunities due to their financial situation, and the latter instances can
potentially cause upset or stress without intention as they relate to an
individual’s financial situation – which may be very different
to your own.
Direct classism includes microaggressions and other forms of discrimination
against members of the Widening Participation community at Warwick, or said
against members of the working-class within society. These can include
comments directly calling an individual ‘poor’, equating
working-class individuals with lower intelligence, associating certain
classes with cultures of violence, commenting on how someone cannot afford
luxury clothing… These are comments that would directly cause offence
to individuals from those backgrounds, and which do cause discomfort to
Warwick students when they are said directly to them, or said about their
upbringing and socioeconomic background.
Additionally, students from working-class backgrounds can also be having
difficulties with external sources of potential classism. These include
opportunities gaps in graduate recruitment, for example. Students from these
backgrounds generally have less accessibility to resources which may support
them in their jobs searches during their time at Warwick. These include
smaller professional networks, lack of opportunities to practise
interviewing techniques, and inability to access paid interviewing support
schemes or books which would help with applications. As there is an
additional underrepresentation of ‘socially mobile’ employees
within certain fields, such as law, consulting, and finance, this can also
create difficulties for these students to connect with interviewers, or
interviewers may hold unconscious biases. This creates unequal opportunities
within the graduate labour market which Widening Participation students also
have to face.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Widening Participation mean?
Be originally from an area and community where progression to Higher
Education is low (classed as LPN - Low Participation Neighbourhoods and
Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)).
Come from a low socio-economic background.
Be the first generation of your family to enter Higher Education.
Be a care leaver or estranged student.
Be a Young Carer.
What is "Lets' Talk About Classism"?
Let's Talk about Classism is a campaign ran by your Widening Participation Officer throughout
Term 3, to encourage and allow space to come together and discuss the impact
of class and socioeconomic status on the opportunities and experiences of
Warwick students. These are not only the student opportunities directly
available to us, but also on the experiences and unintentional or
intentional discrimination that occurs around both the National Student
movement, as well as specifically during our time studying at the
University of Warwick.
Let's Talk about Classism will explore 3 key themes throughout the
following weeks. It will also aim to offer room to bring together the
Widening Participation community, and to help enhance and grow a student and
staff network to fuller engagement and discussion of Classism and the
experiences of it here on campus.
The three key themes are as follows:
- Higher Education Communities
- Student Experience
- Graduate Outcomes
You can get involved with Let’s Talk About Classism, and find out
more, by viewing the Campaigns Page here!
How Can I find out more?
Resources are important to learn more about the issue, and how society and
communities can move forward. If you would like to find out more, here are
some initial resources to do so. Many of the resources focus more generally
on the impact of class on opportunities and outcomes, with classism being a
topic of conversation which comes under these topics.
BBC, ‘How to Crack the Class Ceiling’:
TedxOxford, ‘Social Mobility and Inequality: A Dance With the
The Economist, ‘Why it’s harder to earn more than your
Research from the Sutton Trust -
The Social Mobility Commission information (especially their research and
Warwick Social Mobility Student Research Hub:
‘The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged’, Sam Friedman
and Daniel Laurison
‘Social Class in the 21st Century’, by Mike Savage
‘Social Mobility: And Its Enemies’, Lee Elliot Major and Stephen
Warwick Innovation Funding Information
About the Innovation Fund
Warwick Students' Union's
"Lets Talk About Classism" Campaign & Events
series is powered by alumni support through the Warwick Innovation