The University of East London (UEL) has been recognised with the Race Equality Charter (REC) Bronze Award, affirming the University’s commitment to supporting race equality.
UEL achieved the award by completing an in-depth assessment and developing a robust action plan to ensure that race equality is embedded across the institution. The actions and initiatives in the plan were created in consultation with staff and students.
Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president, said, “The Race Equality Charter award is a significant achievement and important milestone for the University of East London in progressing race equality. The charter provides us with a framework through which we as an institution could identify, reflect upon and address barriers experienced by staff and students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
“We are committed to increasing the diversity of the talent pipeline for a rapidly changing world – realizing the potential of all our students, our graduates and our staff is at the heart of our new 10-year strategy, Vision 2028. We are proud of the progress already made, recognize the continuing challenge and are steadfast in our commitment to an inclusive environment.”
The award follows a recent Universities UK report which shows the BME attainment gap continues to be a sector-wide problem. UEL officials said this is a priority for the University going forward.
Professor Marcia Wilson, executive dean of the University’s College of Applied Health and Communities and chair of its REC committee, said, “Key strategies going forward which underpin our Race Equality Charter action plan relate to tackling the attainment gap and addressing issues of representation and progression of our minority ethnic staff.”
The University is embedding and promoting a stronger understanding of, and commitment to, race equality by embedding race and racism awareness and greater cultural competency among staff at all levels, including decision-makers and senior management. Members of institutional committees will undertake training to increase their awareness of race equality and how white privilege can affect decision-making.
The University has already started the process of developing more inclusive teaching and learning practices and ensuring teaching reflects the lived experience of students and encourages discussions of issues of race and racial justice.
One successful initiative the University has already developed is a ‘Step up to Stop Hate’ campaign which aims to prevent hate crimes. The initiative includes implementation of an online ‘Report and Support’ tool to enable the reporting of harassment and abuse within the University as well as communications campaigns to raise awareness.
Clare Matysova, equality, diversity and inclusion manager said, “The final submission was the culmination of two years of work by the University’s race equality team, which is made up of representatives from across the University. The submission could not have been completed without the dedication and hugely collaborative effort of everyone involved. Our institution-wide responsibility is now for all staff to help implement the action plan and ensure that UEL is working towards race equality.”
The Race Equality Charter is managed by Advance HE’s Equality Challenge Unit. It seeks to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic students and staff in higher education. The REC provides a framework which enables institutions to identify and examine their institutional barriers for ethnic minority staff and students.
A REC Bronze award demonstrates that an institution has a solid basis for removing racial inequalities and creating an inclusive culture which appreciates all staff and students. The award also recognises an institution’s commitment, preparation and ability to effectively counter racism.
The University will be presented with the award on 24 June in York. It is valid until July 2022.