I want to start by acknowledging the recent events in America, events that have triggered waves of shock and anger both in the US and across the world, highlighting the terrible impact racism continues to have on peoples’ lives. As a University, we have a responsibility to tackle racism in our own community as well as in the wider society.
As you will know, we have agreed a joint statement with Kent Union on our commitment to improve efforts to address racism on our campuses, building on the work that has already taken place across the institution. This has now been shared with students as well as staff, and I know several schools have also written their own response which have been well received.
I want to stress that we will not allow this statement to be just empty rhetoric and, together with my colleagues on Executive Group, I will ensure we deliver on its commitment. I would like to thank members of the BAME staff network, Kent Union and the Decolonise University of Kent movement for the work they are already doing with the University in this area.
On Covid-19 related matters, work progresses to implement our plans for opening up the campuses. I particularly want to say thank you to all those colleagues in Estates who are working to systematically re-open the buildings in Canterbury and Medway, to enable the phased return of staff and the creation of a safe working and studying environment. With more than eighty buildings to work through, the complexity cannot be underestimated. We will continue to work with the trade unions and staff representatives throughout this process and keep you updated with the progress of this huge task.
I send you my continued good wishes and thanks for all you are doing in these difficult times.
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President