A Black Country college is at the centre of a race row after being accused of " institutionalised racism" by union officials.
Black and Asian staff at Sandwell College are getting a "raw deal" when it comes to promotion and training opportunities, college lecturers' union NATFHE has claimed. The union also highlighted disproportionately high levels of disciplinary action against students from ethnic backgrounds and a lack of non-white staff in management positions.
The college has denied the charges and said it was committed to removing "all forms of racism".
Union officials are now calling for urgent talks with the college, which last year was at the centre of a fraud investigation.
Una O'Brien, regional support official for NATFHE, said: "The issue raised is a general issue of equal opportunities at the college. The position is when we were looking at the structure and promotion and training aspects we felt black people were getting a raw deal and not getting the same opportunities."
The union says it demanded to see staff monitoring information - a statutory requirement under the Race Amendment Act (2000). The union says it got no response from the college for three months and a report was delivered a day before a scheduled meeting. When it arrived, on June 6, NATFHE said it failed to meet requirements.
"The information they did send had holes and inconsistencies in it," said Chris Nicholas, national race equality organiser for the union.
"It was wholly inadequate. They are supposed to have training for all members of staff in race equality but there was no detail of this."
The report also highlighted that out of 43 students who had disciplinary actions taken against them in the last year, 36 were from ethnic backgrounds.
It revealed that 80 per cent of exclusions were of black and Asian students, despite them making up only about a third of the student population.
NATFHE also claims Sandwell has failed to recruit anyone of ethnic origin to top posts at the college.
None of the senior leadership team, heads of faculty, or performance area managers are black or Asian, it said.
"It is clear they have a problem with racism. They certainly have institutionalised difficulties," added Mr Nicholas.
The college has since announced plans to close its trade union studies department, a move resulting in the redundancy of NATFHE's branch representative, who is black.
Under statutory requirements within the Race Amendment Act, union officials have demanded managers conduct a race impact assessment to see whether the move would adversely affect black and Asian staff. This has so far not been conducted.
Ms O'Brien said: "They challenged us why that was necessary and it was felt there was evidence that institutionalised racism occurred."
A spokesman for the college said: "Sandwell College is proactive in its approach to remove all forms of discrimination, including racism, from college life. The college recruits students and staff from the many diverse ethnic communities of Sandwell and the wider Black Country."
Last year a fraud investigation was launched at Sandwell College after #2 million of public money went missing.
It was believed education sub-contractors were responsible, but a lack of evidence resulted in the investigation being dropped and the lost money written off.
Union leaders accused college of "inept management" at the time.