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Sussex welcomes report calling for urgent action to tackle racial harassment and racial inequality

The University of Sussex welcomes a report by Universities UK (UUK) calling for urgent action to tackle racial harassment and racial inequality in higher education.

The report, published today (24 November), highlights important challenges and makes recommendations – many of which reflect the University’s existing commitments through various programmes of work.

Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: “We support the recommendations made in the report and recognise that a whole-institution approach and engaging with staff and students with lived experience of racial inequality and racial harassment are all essential if we are to make progress.

“While at Sussex we know we have much to do in this area, we have made progress – working with our Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (REC SAT) to ensure that we recognise racial inequalities and identify what we need to do to move forward.

There are several ways racial inequalities are being addressed at the University:

  • The University joined the Race Equality Charter in December 2018 and is working towards an application under the Charter by February 2022
  • The REC SAT, which includes representatives from the staff and student community across the University, has since developed its terms of reference and mission statement
  • A race equality survey for staff and students – which launched earlier this month and is open until 22 December – is currently running as a core element of the Race Equality Charter submission. Outcomes will shape the University’s Charter action plan
  • Last year a dignity and respect (D&R) policy was launched – which includes expectations of behaviour in relation to race and racial harassment
  • This summer a D&R champions network was introduced, a group of trained individuals who staff can approach for confidential and informal advice

In addition, the University is working on a number of other initiatives:

  • Investing in a harassment reporting tool, Report and Support, which will be made available to staff and students in 2021 – working with the REC SAT and staff and student networks.
  • The REC SAT’s Staff Experience and Student Experience sub groups are working on priorities for attention and these will be shared in 2021
  • The REC SAT’s Culture sub group is developing priorities for action, including approaches to raise awareness and understanding of racial inequalities and develop anti-racist programmes of learning.

You can read the full report and, if you have any questions surrounding racial inequality, please email the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) unit at edi.unit@sussex.ac.uk.

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By: Charlie Littlejones
Last updated: Tuesday, 24 November 2020

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