What is the Race Equality Charter?
The Race Equality Charter is a sector quality-mark designed by AdvanceHE to promote best practice in race relations. It provies a structure for universities to improve the representation and success of ethnic minorities within higher education, similar to the role that Athena SWAN plays in tackling gender inequality.
The Race Equality Charter is also seeking to embed five key principles within higher education. These are:
- Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in every situations, processes and behaviours.
- UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
- In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
- Minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
- All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.
By applying for the Race Equality Charter, the University has accepted these principles. This was confirmed in a letter sent from the Vice-Chancellor to AdvanceHE.
Why is the University applying?
The University is committed to ensuring that all staff and students are able to maximize their individual potential. Part of that work is ensuring that nobody’s ethnicity negatively affects their University experience. Colleagues from across the University have been working closely with the BAME Staff Network and the Students Union to address the unique challenges that ethnic minority staff and students face.
We believe that applying for the Race Equality Charter is a unique chance to further build on this work. It provides a structure for the University to investigate where racial inequalities exist within the institution, by requiring the University collate and analyse information about how ethnicity effects the recruitment, satisfaction and success of our staff and students. Such analysis will allow the University to develop solutions to address the particular issues highlighted, actions which will form an institution-wide Race Equality Action Plan. Crucially, both the analysis and the action plan will be made publically available, so that staff, students and stakeholders can learn more about the University’s performance and aspirations in the area of race equality.
The University will then be accountable to AdvanceHE as to whether its Race Equality Action Plan has been implemented, and that the actions have had a positive impact. AdvanceHE is the UK’s leading advocacy organisation for the promotion of best practice in higher education, having recently been formed by a merger between the Higher Education Academy, Equality Challenge Unit and Leadership Foundation. Working with them ensures that the University’s work on race equality is held to the highest standard.