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Working towards race equality

Last year, following the death of George Floyd, we made a public commitment to be more transparent about the work we are doing on race equality – both within the SU and in our interactions with the University and the wider community. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken which we promised to do a year ago, as well as the steps that we will be looking to take in the next academic year.

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Last year, following the death of George Floyd, we made a public commitment to be more transparent about the work we are doing on race equality – both within the SU and in our interactions with the University and the wider community.

Below we’ve outlined some of the steps we’ve taken which we promised to do a year ago, as well as the steps that we will be looking to take in the next academic year - we are very aware that there is still so much to do:

What we’ve done

1. Implementing the Student Networks to ensure that conversations can be had around race equality:

  • The BAME Network had 31 members this year and submitted two policies to Welfare and Inclusion Council as well as establishing an online presence.
  • Following feedback through the Networks and Welfare and Inclusion Council, a number of policies were passed through Student Council to improve the student experience for students from minoritized racial backgrounds.

2. We submitted a paper on Race Equality to the University’s Vice Chancellor highlighting areas for improvement within the university including:

  • the development of an anonymous reporting mechanism for students who experience any form of racial harassment.
  • Ensuring that university support services are culturally competent to support a diverse range of students or, at the very least, are able to signpost to appropriate, alternative services
  • For the Students’ Union and University to work more closely with the wider community to ensure that all students feel welcome within the city of Worcester.

3. We led on the establishment of an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) group with numerous service providers across the city to share good practice and opportunities within the local area.
 

4. We launched our internal Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (EDIWG) within the SU which has developed an EDI policy, the aims of which are to:

  • Ensure that WSU carries out its activities within a framework that respects and promotes equal opportunities, and alongside legislative requirements.
  • Ensure WSU is proactive in promoting equality of opportunity
  • Make explicit the rights and responsibilities of members
  • Commit WSU to monitoring the implementation of this policy and the ongoing evaluation of its effectiveness
     

5. We worked with the African Caribbean Society and BAME Network to support them in running Black History Month in October, including the Walk Through Black History. The establishment of the City-wide EDI working group was to ensure that these activities do not just take place in October but that black history and culture is celebrated all year round through a range of means and activities
 

6. Provided our student group committees and reps the opportunity to engage in a privilege exercise as part of their committee training, as well as ‘Allies training’ with the BAME Network.
 

7. SU staff have attended a range of HE/other conferences and workshops around Race Equity and anti-racism 
 

8. The SU staff team have undergone Equity at Work training
 

9. The SU has increased the diversity of its core staff team and has a commitment to do more

 

What we're going to do

1. Build in structural accountability for us as an SU, including the drive for race equality in all strands of our strategic plan including student activities, academic representation, and the Networks.
 

2. Continue taking a methodical approach to reviewing the inclusivity and accessibility of the work of SU departments and the services they deliver through the SU EDI working group (which will have an annual action plan and link in with Welfare and Inclusion Council).
 

3. Continue to lobby the University to discuss the issues and potential solutions outlined in the Race Equality paper presented this year.
 

4. Commit to raising the profile of the Black Attainment gap at the University and work with the university to set out a solid plan to address this.
 

5. Lobby the University to ensure that all staff who are involved in the student disciplinary process, including Student Behavioral Review Board, are strongly encouraged to engage with unconscious bias training.
 

6. Continue to listen to the experiences of Black students and act to ensure that they feel welcome and supported at the university.
 

7. Continue to learn how to be good allies to our Black students in all aspects of their student experience.

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