Eight universities recognised at launch of new Race Equality Charter as Minister applauds this ‘welcome step’ towards diversity
Marking the launch of the first ever award scheme recognising the work that universities are undertaking to advance race equality, eight universities will be presented with a Race Equality Charter award in London today by Professor Laura Serrant, Patron of the Race Equality Charter.
The Race Equality Charter, developed and run by Equality Challenge Unit, aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The charter is supported by race equality experts, a number of prominent UK academics and by Jo Johnson MP, Universities and Science Minister, as a step towards the government’s target to increase BME participation in higher education. Universities commit to the charter’s guiding principles which include acknowledging the complexity and often covert nature of racial inequalities, and addressing institutional and cultural barriers faced by staff and students.
The need for the charter is manifest. There is a huge disparity in the representation and success of Black and minority ethnic staff within UK universities. For example out of 14,315 professors, just 70 are Black. For students, there is a degree attainment gap of 15.2% between BME students who achieve a first or 2:1 and white students. This rises to a 25.2% gap for Black African heritage students.
Jo Johnson MP, Universities and Science Minister, has leant his support to the aims of the Charter, speaking with Black History Month at the event he commented: “These awards recognise the hard work of many universities to improve diversity on campus. This Government is committed to ensuring everybody has the opportunity to benefit from higher education, and want to see 20% more BME students entering HE by 2020. The Race Equality Charter is a welcome step towards helping meet that common goal.”
Black History Month Champion, De Montfort University are one of the recipients of the Race Equality Charter award.
Speaking with Black History Month, Dr Christine Nightingale, Head of Equality and Diversity at De Montfort University, commented; “Achieving the Race Equality Charter, has marked an important next step for us at De Montfort University. The process of self assessment, analysing our data and creating an action plan for continued improvement has not only given us a enhanced understanding of the culture of inclusion at DMU, but has also brought together a committed multi-disciplinary team to take things forward. We could not have achieved the award without the support of every Faculty and Directorate participating in the process.
“On the 22nd January the university officially welcomed The Baroness Doreen Lawrence as the new Chancellor of DMU. Baroness Lawrence and the Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard both referred to the university’s commitment to Equality and Diversity in their speeches during the investiture ceremony.”
Janet Beer, Vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool and Chair of ECU’s Board said: “ECU’s Race Equality Charter provides a framework for higher education to think seriously about how they can tackle cultures and behaviours that disadvantage our BME staff and students. For those that succeed, receiving an award from Equality Challenge Unit is something that they can be proud of.”
The eight universities receiving awards today were part of a trial of the Race Equality Charter, in which 21 universities submitted an application. ECU’s Race Equality Charter will be open to all UK higher education institutions from today.
The full list of trial award winners:
Bronze institution awards
= De Montfort University
= King’s College London
= Kingston University
= Royal Holloway University London
= Staffordshire University
= University of Hertfordshire
= UCL (incorporating the Institute of Education)
= University of Manchester