Taking the lead in tackling racial inequalities

Friday, 30 May 2014

ECU logo

Oxford Brookes has today signed up to a new equality charter mark as a further demonstration of its commitment to tackling racial inequalities in higher education (30 May 2014).

The University is one of 30 higher education institutions participating in the Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU) national trial of the new scheme.

Under the initiative, Oxford Brookes will be working hard to improve the representation, progression and success of its minority ethnic staff and students.

Those universities that can show real progression over the next year, alongside ambitious action plans for future work, will be able to submit for a charter mark award in spring 2015.

Elaine Dagnall, HR Business Partnership Manager and lead for Equality Diversity and Inclusion, commented: “Oxford Brookes is delighted to be taking part in the ECU race equality charter mark trial. One of our current priorities is to increase representation of BME people amongst our academic and senior staff and to address the attainment and participation levels of BME students.

“The ECU initiative is therefore particularly timely for the University and will provide a helpful strategic framework for the development of these important areas of work.

“The University seeks, through all its policies and actions, to be a genuinely inclusive organisation, and draws for this on good practice throughout the sector and beyond. This is as part of our commitment to integrating the principles of equal treatment and the promotion of diversity into all aspects of the University’s day-to-day life.”

Following the trial, it is intended that the charter mark will be open to all higher education institutions in the UK in 2015.

The ECU works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK, and in colleges in Scotland.

Claire Herbert, ECU's senior policy adviser leading on the race equality charter mark, said: “We all know that there continue to be racial inequalities in higher education. We are delighted to see so many institutions of all sizes, locations, specialisms and mission groups put themselves forward for the trial.

“Participation in the charter mark involves being brave enough to reflect honestly on areas where more work is needed. It is inspiring to see these institutions step up to the challenge and show how much they value equality for all their staff and students.

“We have undertaken a lot of work and consultation to make sure the charter mark framework is relevant and achievable, but also challenging. The views of minority ethnic staff and students will be very important throughout the trial to ensure their perspectives are embedded in the charter and that it will have a meaningful impact on their experience of the sector.

“I look forward to supporting these institutions as they work together to make a real difference to race equality across the sector.”

For the past ten years, ECU has managed the Athena SWAN charter mark which aims to increase the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).  In 2013, Brookes was recognised with a bronze Athena SWAN award.

Oxford Brookes’ Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer is the Joint Chair and Universities UK nominee of the ECU. For more information visit the ECU website.