Last week, the job advert for the Chief Diversity Officer went live. After well over a year as co-chairs of the Race Equality Task Force, it’s gratifying to see this first tangible outcome of our work. Last term, we completed the analysis of the Race Equality Task Force Consultation that happened in Michaelmas term. This turned out to be a much bigger task than expected, because the consultation attracted a lot of input and comments that took time to consider and reflect on. We are very grateful for the work of the data analyst, Javier Pérez Sandoval, who completed the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the 1,167 responses, and also provided a sentiment analysis of the text. Given the nature of the subject, and the nuanced responses received, the three of us together with Daisy Hung, the RETF programme manager, reviewed all the input from the free text questions to draw out issues, ideas and comments from colleagues. Thank you to all who took the time to complete the consultation and particularly to those who wrote of their experiences here and elsewhere and gave detailed input. It is all very valuable and speaks to the importance of these issues.
The good news is that the consultation provided a very strong steer on the initial priorities that we need to focus on to accelerate change and that are now part of the Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan. The action plan has been developed as the University’s submission for the Race Equality Charter.
An article on the Race Equality Task Force website outlines the key issues raised and the priority measures. It is worth noting that many of the measures in the consultation, and others beyond that list, are already happening or planned for particular areas of the University, but the priority list helps us identify where to make investment to help accelerate change.
Council has already approved three enabling actions: create a full-time EDI leadership role; work with the Conference of Colleges to develop joint governance processes; and develop and embed a positive approach to communications and engagement on race-related issues. Alongside these, the consultation has enabled us to develop a set of priority actions. Prominent among these are: a variety of measures to meet the aim of eliminating harassment across the University; increased focus on diversity and scholarships for postgraduate students; and a further increase of the diversity of counselling provision available to our students. Actions in support of staff includes housing liaison and a comprehensive inclusive recruitment strategy. The strategy document and detailed action plan will be going to divisions for consultation this term.
Again, thank you to all who have engaged with the work of the task force to date. This is a subject that excites strong and diverse views, but we hope we are on course to deliver a strategy that our whole community can get behind.
Professor Patricia Daley, Professor of the Human Geography of Africa
Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (People and Digital)
Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)
Co-Chairs of the Race Equality Task Force