Kent is committed to the Race Equality Charter (REC), which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The charter provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. REC is underpinned by five fundamental guiding principles:
- Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.
- UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
- In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
- Minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
- All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.
We are committing to following these principles in how they approach race equality and address their institutional culture, including in areas such as:
- professional and support staff
- academic staff
- student progression and attainment
- diversity of the curriculum
This is the start of a long process and although it may take time to see change we are committed to advancing race equality and creating a change in culture alongside all colleagues and students. We are aware that pockets of excellence at Kent have been addressing these issues, but a wider, systemic look at the ‘business as usual’ structures that often reflects non-inclusive norms of academic and institutional culture is crucial to the creation of an environment where people at Kent from all backgrounds are able to thrive and where tackling racism and advancing race equality is the responsibility of all. Self assessment team A key part of this work is the self assessment team, which will meet for three hours, once every two months with smaller, action related meetings and preparation in the intervening periods. Some of the members of the self assessment team will be senior role holders within Kent, and the team will be chaired by Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the EDI lead on Executive Group as it is key that this work translates into action and structural change at Kent. We will also be inviting staff and student representatives from relevant network groups. In addition to this, we welcome expressions of interest from all staff and students – this may be to form part of the self assessment team or part of the wider sub teams as they are created. To express your interest in this work, please email with a brief paragraph on how you would like to be involved and any relevant experiences. We welcome expressions of interest from everyone, especially those who experience multiple structural disadvantages.