On Wednesday 28th June 2017, the Board of Governors approved revision to our Policy Statement on Equality and Diversity and its subdorinate policy statements. An earlier draft of these revisions had been approved by the Joint Equality and Diversity Committee on Thursday 1st June 2017, and by the Corporate Management Team on Monday 12th June 2017.
The revisions were made after consultation with the Equality and Diversity Operational Group, which includes within its membership, the Chairs of the LGBT, BAME and Disabled Staff Networks. The membership of the Staff Networks were also invited to provide feedback on the final draft between 12th June and 20th June, including at the three All Staff Networks Meetings.
The consensus throughout the consultation process was that the policies did not need a substantial update. Therefore the changes made are primarily focused on drafting changes to improve the clarity of the policies and have them follow a more standard format. These are changes are listed below
- Adding paragraphs in the Policy Statement on Equality and Diversity that incorporate common language about the importance of diversity that were already present in the subordinate policy statements.
- Updating the sections contained in all the Policy Statements about the University welcoming staff groups to acknowledge the existence of the Staff Networks. The text also now stresses the (pre-existing) rights of staff members to participate in their Staff Network meetings.
- Referencing the role of the Joint Equality and Diversity Committee in ensuring that the University is fulfilling its corporate obligations under this policy.
- Mentioning the possibility that some staff members may experience “multiple discrimination” should they belong to several minority groups and the need for this to be combated.
- Mentioning the University’s work to tackle unconscious bias and microaggressions, when discussing Equality and Diversity Training.
- Adding a commitment in policy statements about encouraging staff and students to act as allies.
- Adding a commitment in policy statements about supporting staff and students who wish to report breaches of this policy.
- Updating the terminology used when referring to ethnic minorities.
- Mentioning “biphobia” in sections that discuss combating homophobia
- Changing the name of the “Policy statement on Trans Equality” to “Policy Statement on Gender Identity Equality”. This is in-line with the titles of the other policy statements.
- Simplifying the definition of Trans used, in part, due to feedback from Stonewall that some of the language used was outdated.
- Mentioning “non-binary” and “enbyphobia” to highlight the specific issues faced by those staff members who do not identify as male or female.
- Explicitly referring to the expression of gender identity, as recommended by the new Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
- Incorporate language from the Trans and Gender Reassignment about the right of Trans people to access changing/bathroom facilities and for Transwomen to access female-only spaces and Transmen to access male-only spaces
Please see below for the full-text of the University's Policy Statement on Equality and Diversity.
Policy Statement on Equality and Diversity
The University of Wolverhampton (hereafter ‘the University’) is fully committed to the advancement of equality and the elimination of unlawful and unfair discrimination. It values the benefits that a diverse student and staff population brings to the university. The University will treat all people with respect, and seeks to provide a positive environment free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation.
The University will not discriminate on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. It will not discriminate because of any other irrelevant factor and will build a culture that values equity, openness, fairness and transparency.
The University celebrates and values the diversity of its student population and workforce, and believes that it will benefit from employing people who are Disabled, BAME and LGBT at all levels of responsibility, thus hoping to provide role models for other staff and students from the same background(s). For the same reason, the University believes it would benefit from improving the representation of women and men in areas of our workforce where they are underrepresented.
The University recognises that its students, staff and those who engage with it come from diverse cultures and backgrounds and may hold personal beliefs that differ from the beliefs and values articulated by this policy or other University policies. Whilst respecting individuals' personal beliefs and acknowledging its duties not to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief, the University expects its students, staff and visitors to uphold the values in its strategic plan and associated policies, practices and procedures at all times when engaging with the University.
The University values the work of the Disabled Staff Network, BAME Staff Network and LGBT Staff Network, and believes their work enhances the University experience for all staff and students. Line-managers must support those staff members who wish to engage with these networks i.e. allowing them to attend meetings or events during worktime. The University will also provide appropriate logistical support for student groups and representatives.
All staff and students are responsible for the promotion and advancement of this policy. The Joint Equality and Diversity Committee shall monitor that the University is fulfilling its corporate obligations. Individual behaviour, actions or words that transgress the policy will not be tolerated and where appropriate will be dealt with in line with the University’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy.
The policy is applicable to all those who interact with the University. This includes, but is not limited to, staff, students, suppliers, and visitors. The policy applies to all processes relating to employment, education and to any dealings with customers and clients. Decision-making in relation to all university activities will be based on objective criteria only and any irrelevant information will not form part of the process.
The policy will be reviewed as necessary to reflect changes in the law, demographics and internal requirements.
Other Equality & Diversity Policy Statements
Also on Wednesday 28th June 2017, the Board of Governors also approved revisions to the University's policy statements on Disability Equality, Race Equality, Sexual Orientation Equality, and Gender Identity Equality. These can be read below: