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David Ruebain: Inclusive Sussex update
Posted on behalf of: Internal Communications
Last updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2023
On Tuesday 14 November, David Ruebain, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Culture, Equality & Inclusion) emailed all staff. You can read the message below:
There have been several updates regarding the awful conflict in Gaza and Israel, including information about how to report any incidents of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism or indeed anything which breaches our policies on Dignity & Respect, as well as guidance on health and wellbeing support. Please note in particular last month’s update from the Vice-Chancellor.
For many, emotions are understandably raw and so work to build understanding across differences is more important than ever. Our Open Listening Programme aims to support this and staff are welcome to join one of the Open Listening workshops taking place over the next week and finishing on Tuesday 21 November.
This month, I’d like to talk about:
- Freedom of speech and its boundaries lecture - tomorrow, 15 November
- Disability History Month
- Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20 November
- Islamophobia Awareness Month
- Improving Library accessibility
- October’s inclusive leadership event replay
- Interfaith dialogue workshop, 15 November
- Faitheist - Building Bridges event, 15 November
- The Period Experience for Everybody, 24 November
Freedom of speech and its boundaries lecture - tomorrow, 15 November
You are warmly invited to join me for my lecture on campus tomorrow from 5pm-6pm, exploring the boundaries of freedom of speech and its intersection with equality, diversity and inclusion. The lecture, titled ‘Freedom of speech – can you draw a line?’ seeks to consider how freedom of speech may appear to clash with other legal and ethical commitments. After the lecture, there will be an opportunity for thoughts and questions from the audience. It is open to all staff and students but please do book your place.
Disability History Month
Disability History Month, from 16 November-16 December, offers an opportunity to reflect on the history of the fight for equality and human rights for disabled people. This year, the experience of disabled children and young people is in focus. Negative attitudes and oppression can impact young people particularly deeply and it is important to take a look not only at what needs to change but also the progress that has been made. With this in mind, I will be hosting a screening of the excellent film Crip Camp on campus on Wednesday 29 November at 12.30pm with free popcorn and soft drinks – all are welcome. Find out more, including further events and meet ups during the month arranged by the Staff Disability Network.
Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20 November
Transgender Day of Remembrance is on Monday 20 November, honouring the memory of transgender people who have lost their lives due to transphobic violence and raising awareness of continued violence. Trans Awareness Week takes place this week in the lead up to Transgender Day of Remembrance, highlighting the issues members of the trans community face and the support available for trans, non-binary and intersex people. Find out more including support available for Sussex staff and students and remembrance events happening in Brighton. The University will mark both Trans Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance by flying the Trans flag over Sussex House.
Islamophobia Awareness Month
November is Islamophobia Awareness Month, which seeks to showcase the positive contributions of Muslims and raise awareness of Islamophobia in society. This year’s theme is #MuslimStories which aims to support connections among individuals from diverse backgrounds, including both Muslims and non-Muslims, using the power of storytelling. You can read about the campaign and support available at the University for Muslim staff and students.
Improving Library accessibility
Accessibility on campus is a key focus for us and an update was issued recently from the Better Campus team about progress towards creating a new entrance to our Library. Following feedback, ideas and suggestions from across our campus community, designs have been submitted to Brighton & Hove Council. If approved, this will be the start of a programme of accessibility improvements to the Library and other buildings.
October’s inclusive leadership event replay
As part of our ‘Inclusive Sussex: In Conversation with’ event series, we welcomed Lela Kogbara and Jane Farrell, specialists in inclusive leadership, to campus last month for a panel discussion with senior lecturers Dr Benjamin Everley and Dr Zahira Jaser, and me. During the wide-reaching conversation we discussed experiences of marginalised identities at work, gender and leadership and the extent to which equality, diversity and inclusion programmes are successful within organisations. We also heard questions and comments from the audience of staff and students. Read more about the event, view the photos and watch the replay. Details about future ‘In Conversation with’ events will be shared on the Staff Hub.
With good wishes,
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Culture, Equality and Inclusion)
- Interfaith Dialogue Workshop Wednesday 15 November, 1pm-3pm. With writer, teacher and activist Chris Stedman.
- Fatheist - Building Bridges Between Believers, Nonbelievers, and Everyone In Between
Wednesday 15 November, 7pm-8.30pm. Chris Stedman in conversation with James Croft, Lead Chaplain at the University.
- The Period Experience for Everybody Friday 24 November, 12.30pm-1.30pm. Fun and frank discussion about menstrual health guided by questions submitted anonymously by the campus community.