The Race Equality Charter (REC) is a national scheme aimed at improving the representation, progression and success of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students within higher education. It provides a framework for institutions to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.
The Bronze level award recognises universities that are beginning their journey to advance race equality.
Loughborough University joined the REC in April 2018. Over the last four years, staff and students have been actively engaged in discussions around racism, to understand its manifestations and the impacts of processes that produce inequitable outcomes from a race perspective. The University has considered the steps the organisation must take to become an equitable, anti-racist university.
Dr James Esson, Loughborough’s REC Co-Chair and Reader in Human Geography, said: “Engaging with the Race Equality Charter has provided an essential mechanism for Loughborough University to interrogate and understand the impact of institutional racism at our East Midlands and London campuses.
“I am incredibly pleased to see we have been awarded the REC Bronze award. But I am more concerned with and encouraged by the University’s commitment to the REC action plan. The action plan, to address the issues raised in the submission, was accepted for implementation by the University regardless of the outcome of the application for the REC Bronze award. Realising the objectives set out in the action plan will be pivotal in Loughborough University’s aim of becoming an anti-racist organisation as part of a broader race equity strategy.
“Whilst very happy on sharing this news, I do know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us and that a commitment to support REC actions is much needed from all members of our Loughborough student and staff community. It is also important that members of our community continue to hold our senior leadership team, and those like me involved in advancing race equity work, to account.”
Richard Taylor, REC Co-Chair and the University’s Chief Operating Officer, added: “Completing the REC submission provided an important mechanism through which we have been able to recognise where we are and what we need to do to progress to become an anti-racist organisation.
“There is an imperative for us to change the University for the better. We have already begun to have open, honest and often difficult conversations and we’ll need to continue doing that if we’re to make the changes we need to. It will also involve us challenging racist behaviour and outcomes, and the structures that contribute to these.
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the colleagues and students who contributed to the work in support of our REC submission, particularly the staff members from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff Network and the students from the African-Caribbean Society and the Ethnic Minorities Network.”
The University will now continue to move forward with its comprehensive race equality action plan. A range of actions taken to date include:
- We have appointed the University’s first ever Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Charlotte Croffie will join Loughborough in September.
- We have recruited an EDI Officer, with a race equity specialist to support the progression of our Race Equality Charter action plan.
- We have provided a dedicated budget to support the implementation of our REC actions to enable the funding of key activity including initiatives associated with the work of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and student groups.
- We are working to undertake systematic reviews and implement changes to key processes including recruitment, promotion and grievances.
- We have improved how racist incidents within the University can be reported and are working to increase awareness of the process within our staff and student communities.
- We have stepped up our education and awareness activities focusing on areas including sustained anti-racism training and positive action.
- We have increased our series of activities highlighting the achievements of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.
- We have launched the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Student Council and Postgraduate Research Consortium, led by representatives of the Students’ Union and the Doctoral College.
Dr Arun Verma, Head of REC at Advance HE, said: “Achieving REC Bronze is recognition of an institution’s robust foundation for eliminating racial inequalities, developing inclusive cultures and moving from commitment to sustainable and integrated bold and ambitious action.
“Advance HE looks forward to supporting Loughborough University as it progresses its action plan to advance race equality.”
Further information about the work behind Loughborough’s submission to the REC is available on the University’s dedicated REC webpages.