UK (UUK) has today (Tuesday 24 November 2020) published a new set of
recommendations designed to decisively tackle racial harassment as part of
efforts to address racial inequality in UK higher education.
The recommendations are the
product of an advisory group convened by UUK in October 2019 and come just over
a year after the Equality and Human Rights Commission uncovered widespread
evidence of racial harassment on university campuses.
advisory group, chaired by Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor,
University of East Anglia, was informed by experts in the field and carried out
in-depth consultation with panels of exclusively Black, Asian and Minority
Ethnic students and staff with lived experience of racial harassment.
resulting recommendations include practical steps that all university leaders
can implement immediately:
commit priority status to tackling racial harassment
Engage directly with students and staff with lived
experience of racial harassment
Review current policies and procedures and develop new
institution-wide strategies for tackling racial harassment
Improve awareness and understanding of racism, racial
harassment, white privilege and microagressions among all staff and
students, including through anti-racist training
Ensure expected behaviours for online behaviour are
clearly communicated to students and staff, as well as sanctions for
Develop and introduce reporting systems for incidents
of racial harassment
data on reports of incidents and share regularly with senior staff and
guidance calls on university leaders to acknowledge where there are issues in
their institutions, and that UK higher education perpetuates institutional
racism. It cites racial harassment, a lack of diversity among senior leaders,
the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student attainment gap and ethnicity pay
gaps among staff as evidence.
also recommends training for senior leaders and governing bodies to improve
their awareness of concepts including white privilege and allyship, and makes
clear that efforts to address racial harassment will only succeed if the entire
university community – including students, staff, alumni, and local partners –
are engaged and encouraged to take shared responsibility for change.
to tackle racial harassment should be closely linked with wider work by
universities to address racial inequalities in their local communities, as well
as throughout UK society and culture.
David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and Chair of
the Advisory Group said:
is my firm belief that UK universities perpetuate institutional racism. This is
uncomfortable to acknowledge but all university leaders should do so as a first
step towards meaningful change.
“Too often Black, Asian and
Minority Ethnic students and staff have been failed. While they may have heard
positive words, they have seen little action.
needs to change now. These recommendations are designed to help university
leaders put words into action and tackle racial harassment. By embracing and
embedding an anti-racist approach we can ensure that 2021 is the year we lead
decisive and meaningful change, not just for our universities but for society
as a whole.”
Nishan Canagarajah, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester and member of the
Advisory Group said:
has the power to change lives, which is why it is imperative that every
university creates a truly inclusive environment for
every student to flourish and achieve their full potential. It is not
acceptable that students at the same institution can have a completely
different experience at university just because of their background.
“This report is timely and relevant – students
from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are clearly being let down,
and it is a wake-up call to higher education to show we cannot ignore this
issue any longer.
acutely aware of the challenges that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students
face on a daily basis, which is why I have committed to play my part in
effecting change – I am hopeful that my peers will read this report and it will
mark the start of a movement of change. We have a moral duty as academic
leaders to address this urgently.”
Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London and President,
Universities UK said:
racist incident is one too many, and all university students and staff are
entitled to a positive, safe and enjoyable
experience free from racial harassment. As university leaders we have a duty of
care to provide that outcome and these recommendations are designed to ensure
that we do.
“Although universities have
made progress in tackling all forms of harassment since the launch of UUK’s Changing
the culture work in 2016, it’s clear that more needs to be done to tackle
racial harassment throughout higher education. This guidance provides lessons
and solutions which will help university leaders make rapid and lasting change
for all those working and studying at the UK’s universities.
university leaders should read this guidance and implement its recommendations
alongside their own activities to make a real difference to all those working
and studying in our communities.”
full report Tackling racial harassment in higher education and a
set of case studies were published on
the Universities UK website on Tuesday 24 November 2020, alongside
UK’s work on Changing the culture was launched in 2015 with the
creation of a taskforce to tackle all forms of harassment and misconduct
in UK higher education. The first report
of the taskforce was published in October 2016.
Progress was reviewed both one
years after the publication of the original framework. The reviews found
that institutions were making progress on tackling sexual misconduct but
have not given the same priority to racial harassment.
The advisory group on racial harassment was established
on 9 October 2019 and took independent expert
advice from Dr Tony Sewell, Jatin Haria, and Sandra Kerr. The membership
of the advisory group was approximately 50% BAME and 50% white. The full
list of members can be found in Annexe
F of the report.
The student and staff panels that informed the work of
the advisory group were comprised exclusively of Black, Asian and Minority
Ethnic members. The full list of members for both panels can be found in Annexe
G of the report.
Universities UK will publish a webcast discussing the
report’s recommendations during the week commencing Monday 30 November.
For further information please contact email@example.com
Universities UK is the collective voice of 140
universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission
is to create the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the
world; maximising their positive impact locally, nationally and globally.
Universities UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads
of institution. Visit: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk