Black Lives Matter
1 June 2020
We stand in solidarity with the cry that Black Lives Matter.
We do not tolerate racism.
We condemn racism wherever it exists.
As the University for Sustainability and Social Justice, we stand in solidarity with those against racial hate.
Change is needed in the UK and globally.
We commit to continually work with others to identify and deal with any systemic discrimination, unconscious bias or racism.
Any of our students or staff who have been affected by the current situation in the USA are reminded to reach out if you need any support (Student Services for students or HR for staff).
15 June 2020
Saying more about being anti-racist
From AVC Sam Jones, to all of our staff and students, on behalf of SMT
The University put out a statement (above) shortly after the shocking murder of George Floyd. We said that we condemn racism wherever it exists. But we now need to say more about this to you.
We are anti-racist.
We commit to: looking within with humility, listening keenly, and acting to effect real change.
As Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want To Talk About Race, put it so well: "The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward."
We recognise this is a journey needing the clearest signal and that this commitment comes directly from the Senior Management Team. SMT do commit to lead this change and I have been tasked to lead on anti-racism within our University.
I undertake this work aware of my white privilege and because of it. We are clear that this is work the University needs to do. We are determined to continue this journey in strong partnership with you, as allies.
What we will do now
A lot of work is already underway and has been for some time. But we need to move further, faster. We will continue to support the existing work and will give it the weight that an SMT lead can bring. We will also shine a light on the places where we can, and need, to do more. We understand that difficult conversations are needed and we welcome this and welcome the challenges that being truly inclusive as an institution bring. We want to do more, we want to understand more, we want to listen. But, vitally, we want to bring change through actions.
I will be leading a Working Group, in partnership with BAME staff and students and white allies within the University. This will be the place where we can identify what needs to be done, where, and establishing and reviewing an action plan to realise change. This will also be the place where we will be listening to you, whatever you need to tell us.
We will keep you all informed throughout. We will create a space to show the work that is being done and where we can share resources to collectively build our race awareness as well as putting in place tools to become a white ally.
Further details of this will be forthcoming shortly.
Where we will focus first
We recognise the importance of our students seeing themselves in what they are being taught, with teaching materials reflecting diverse examples of names and images that are positive and not stereotyped. We also recognise the importance of learning about and assessing subjects in a way that is relevant to all of our students, making our subject areas inclusive and teaching from a perspective that recognises the global nature of that subject.
We have started a plan towards decolonising our curriculum. We will have Faculty-wide representatives who are agents for this forward change and we will be creating resources, workshops and learning lunches to support staff in this.
We value and will strive towards greater diversity within our staff at all levels and within our student body. We recognise that there is work to do there and we will shortly be accelerating our Unconscious Bias training for all staff, providing separate training on race and putting in place interventions in staff recruitment practises to maximise opportunity for BAME applicants.
We will create a plan to work towards the Race Equality Charter and enter it in 2022 (following the AdvanceHE's work to amend the current Charter).
We seek to ensure that wherever we have control, we create environments, policies and experiences that are safe for everyone and allow everyone to flourish. We are addressing the BAME attainment gap through data driven, department-level initiatives.
We will ensure that our students are able to see themselves reflected authentically around our campus and in our materials and promotions. We all belong at the University of Winchester and we celebrate the rich diversity of culture that our staff and students bring to us.
And we will do more
There is no area that we are not willing to shine a light on.
Stay safe. I look forward to working more with you on this.
A word about language
We are aware that within this letter the term BAME is used repeatedly. We are aware this is not unproblematic. This homogenous term is incapable of capturing the multitude of experiences and cultures that it attempts to symbolise. We want to say that we recognise this. There are issues with terms like "people of colour" also - we are all people of colour and we recognise the need to see colour when it comes to discrimination and injustices. But we use the term white - to separate whiteness, because this is important at this point in history. Whiteness is a privilege we need to see. So, for now, we have chosen to use BAME, and please do not think that we intend you to feel that the same issues and experiences affect you all. We see you.