Stormzy says Oxford University rejected his program for black students

British grime music star Stormzy and the University of Oxford are locked in a dispute over whether the insti...

Posted: Nov 8, 2018 6:41 PM
Updated: Nov 8, 2018 6:41 PM

British grime music star Stormzy and the University of Oxford are locked in a dispute over whether the institution rejected his plan to fund two black students through a scholarship program.

Oxford passed on the idea, leading Stormzy to instead set up the program with the rival University of Cambridge, the Guardian reports him as saying at an event in London on Wednesday.

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But a spokeswoman for Oxford said: "There was no developed proposal either to accept or decline."

"We are absolutely not accusing Stormzy of lying," she added, saying that the university is "speaking with his team to establish why we did not respond."

"We take responsibility for missing an opportunity," the spokeswoman said.

Stormzy's accusation had led to condemnation of the university online from figures including Labour Party MP David Lammy.

"Why would you look a gift horse in the mouth @UniofOxford? Must be getting too big for your boots," Lammy wrote on Twitter, referencing a Stormzy song.

The university, which is consistently ranked one of the best in the world, has repeatedly faced criticism over the low number of black students enrolled. Out of its 32 colleges, 10 failed to admit a single black British student in 2015, the last year for which the university has released figures.

"We recognise the importance of Stormzy's support and share his ambition in encouraging more black students to take up university education," the spokeswoman said.

"We have spoken with Stormzy's management and clarified we are keen to work with him further," she added.

Stormzy's debut album, "Gang Signs & Prayer," became the first grime work to top the UK album charts, and it won him Brit and MOBO awards and numerous other nominations.

He has also earned praise for his involvement in a variety of social issues, and he has criticized the lack of diversity in higher education and the music industry.

"There are so many young black kids all over the country who have the level of academic excellence to study at a university such as Cambridge -- however we are still under represented at leading universities," he said when announcing the scholarships with Oxford's rival university in August.

The rapper made the accusation about Oxford while promoting his publishing imprint #Merky Books at an event in London's Barbican Centre.

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