Category Archives: challenging racism

Addressing Misogyny in Higher Education

In light of recent national news events, as a University we are re-enforcing our commitment to fostering a positive working environment where all staff and students are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration.

Misogyny is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls that manifests in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, belittling of women, disenfranchisement of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification. All of us have a responsibility to create an environment, which is free from harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination and victimisation.

A new series of Active Bystander training will help ensure that staff can play their part in preventing any inappropriate behaviour.

Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance, comments: ‘As part of our commitment to our staff and student community, I am pleased to support the Active Bystander initiative. We value our community, and therefore it is our responsibility to create and nurture an environment, which is safe, supportive, and free from all forms of bullying and harassment. This initiative is an important step forward.’

About the training

The Active Bystander training sessions will take place on 28 April, 19 May and 23 June, from 14.00-15.30.

Each virtual session will include:
• A video demonstrating bystander apathy
• Specific references for the HE Sector
• High-profile examples of inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour
• Decision-making techniques to help people overcome fear and self-doubt when faced with a challenging situation
• Assertiveness techniques to give them the confidence and tools to speak out, whether they are dealing with the challenge directly or calling for help from others.

The session will include group discussion and interactivity and each delegate will receive a ‘Active Bystander’ toolkit booklet. 40 places are available at each session – book your place now via Staff Connect.

Find out more

Kent has a zero tolerance approach to any behaviour that violates an individual in person or online, and encourages the reporting of such instances. You can find out more on our EDI webpages.

White Privilege webinar

Challenging Racism: White Privilege live webinar – 18 March

Article from the Challenging Racism team

Continuing with our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign the next Live Webinar on Thursday 18 March at 12.30. We are delighted to welcome Dr Deborah Gabriel speaking on the topic of White Privilege.  The ‘Live webinar’ is a 90min online webinar facilitated by Inclusive Employers, with a guest speaker, panel discussion and Q&A session.

Dr Deborah Gabriel

Dr Deborah Gabriel

Dr Deborah Gabriel is the Founder and Director of Black British Academics, a global network of scholars focused on addressing racial inequality in higher education and society, established in 2013. Key areas of focus are transformation in teaching, learning and research, with an emphasis on equity and social justice. She created and leads the Ivory Tower Project on race and gender inequality in academia and developed the 3D Pedagogy Framework to decolonise, democratise and diversify the higher education curriculum.

Her current areas of focus are community empowerment and collaborative social justice. Her intellectual work is interdisciplinary and broadly focused on the dynamics of race, gender and culture in media, communication, and higher education. These areas of inquiry are approached from a critical race and Black feminist standpoint to analyse the relationships between race, power, privilege, and inequality. As a consultant, she specializes in strategic approaches to equity, diversity and inclusion centred on social justice and transformation in higher education and society.

Book Your Place Today: Eventbrite Registration Link. 

The aim of the ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign is to promote unity, not division and to help understand and develop more inclusive behaviours. To do that we all need to increase our awareness and understanding of racism and how it can be tackled within Kent, to ensure all staff and students feel safe and empowered.  

Please share this and encourage your contacts and teams to sign up so that we can all work together and take the first steps to address racism at Kent and beyond.

#EDI #challengingracismtogether #choosetochallenge 

If you have any questions, contact us via challengingracism@kent.ac.uk

Join our Inclusion Circles

All University of Kent Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff are invited to join our first Inclusion Circle session on 10 March 2021, focusing on BAME wellbeing, as part of our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign.

The aim of the Inclusion Circles is to create a safe environment to listen to staff concerns, share experiences, discuss a variety of topics, and show solidarity. Facilitated by Inclusive Employers, the programme will take place over three 90-minute sessions. The first two sessions will focus on a different topic, with the third session culminating in an action plan based on feedback and shared experiences from earlier sessions.

Session 1 Inclusion Circle 1: Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) wellbeing (10 March, 10.00) 

    • A BAME* only discussion about current Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the disproportionate effect of Coronavirus on BAME people.
    • A place to feel comfortable, share experiences and to find out how to get support
    • This is a safe space to express concerns and show solidarity

Sign up now, spaces are limited!

Further information and a full list of additional dates corresponding to Inclusion Circle sessions, can be found on Staff Connect. [Logon to your to Staff Connect account, click on ‘My Training Details’, then click on ‘Training Request’, enter search term ‘Inclusion Circles’ and click on ‘Search’ button.]

*Please note: the acronym BAME does not represent a homogenous group but is used here in a similar manner to its use in higher education research and by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for statistical purposes, to represent people who are racialised as belonging to a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

BAME Staff Network – all staff survey results

The University’s BAME Staff Network shared the initial findings of its 2020 all staff survey at a live online event on 10 February, attended by over 60 academic and professional services staff.

You can watch a recording of the event by clicking the link below:
https://bit.ly/3jF2d2v

Dr Heejung Chung and Hyojin Seo (both from the Division for the Study of Law, Society, and Social Justice) undertook the first stage of the data analysis and shared this with attendees. This indicated some significant points which will be helpful in addressing the University’s EDI objectives. Further analysis of the data will be completed in due course.

Please visit the BAME Staff Network website to keep up to date with the full analysis, as well as to join the Network.

Colleagues can also email the Network’s Co-chairs at bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk

Marking International Women’s Day on 8 March

The BAME Staff Network at the University of Kent is honoured to host the Right Reverend Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, as keynote speaker at this year’s International Women’s Day on Monday 8 March 2021.

Dr Hudson-Wilkin is the first Black woman to become a Church of England Bishop, and was previously Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day campaign is: #ChooseToChallenge, and Dr Hudson-Wilkin will be sharing her thoughts on issues of gender and race.

The event starts at 5:30pm to 6:30pm and will be via MS Teams through the Link below:

International Women’s Day with Dr Rose Hudson-Wilkin

We look forward to seeing you there.

Vanisha Jassal, Dave Thomas, Dr Barbara Adewumi and Dr Bridget Ng’andu, Co-Chairs BAME Staff Network, University of Kent

Email: bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk

 

Allyship Progamme – starting 23 February 2021

Continuing with our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign, 23 February 2021 sees the start of our Inclusive Allyship Programme as a four part series looking at the values, behaviours and actions of Allies within Kent.

Allies will play a key role in supporting the University to advance its Equality agenda by linking with the staff networks, to support them with events and activities; be driven by staff lived experience and expertise; and support various stakeholders across the University to drive a culture of inclusion.

We continue our partnering with Liverpool John Moores University and City, University of London, and Inclusive Employers in delivering the Allyship programme with a cohort of 40 people across all 3 institutions.

Inclusive Allyship Programme (Part A)

Delivered by Inclusive Employers, the programme will take place over several weeks to allow for reflection and action between sessions. Each session will be one hour long.

Aim of the programme:

  • Understand what makes an Inclusion Ally and how it relates to three key areas: values, behaviours and actions.
  • Explore privilege, circles of influence, and the boundaries of the role.
  • Explore frameworks and techniques to challenge exclusion and have challenging conversations.
  • Create an individual plan of action.

Session 1 (Introductory Session) – “Welcome to Allies” webinar (23 February 2021 – 11.00)

  • Values: why are Allies important? – We’ll take a look at the purpose of Allies at the University and the wider context, including anti-racism and structural discrimination.
  • Behaviours: how do Allies make a difference? – We’ll discuss privilege and power and how this can be utilised to make the workplace more inclusive, identifying the boundaries of the Ally role.
  • Actions: what do Allies do? – We’ll look at specific projects and initiatives Allies can support, and the actions they will be taking over the next 4 weeks

Further information and a full list of additional dates corresponding to the Allyship programme, can be found on Staff Connect. There are places still available so don’t forget to book your spot!

Man wearing jumper that says "respect"

Take the Expect Respect Module

Here at Kent, we want everyone to be treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, we have taken proactive steps to ensure you are well informed and know about the support available.   

The Expect Respect module is a compulsory module for all registered students at the University of Kent, regardless of what you are studying or whether you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student.  

The Expect Respect module outlines the behaviours we expect of you whilst you are with us as well as what you can expect from both the University and your Students’ Union. The module will dig deep into issues of racism, bias, sexual harassment and consent; it will challenge you to think about your own behaviour, the way you interact with others and the impact this could have on someone else’s experience.  

This module will demonstrate how to report any incidents to the University so that you, or any student affected, can access the right support. It will also make you aware of the wide range of different support services available to you depending on your needs.  

You can find the Expect Respect module on Moodle (code DP6636) – you should be automatically enrolled but if you have any issues please get in contact with Auzimuth Jackson at A.Jackson-502@kent.ac.uk. 

BAME Staff Network All Staff Survey: Online feedback event – 10 February

Thank you to all of you who completed the All Staff Survey 2020 organised by the BAME Staff Network.

Please join us for a presentation and discussion of the survey findings on 10 February from 14.00-15.00.  This event is for all staff – academic and professional services.
Click here to join the meeting

If you have any questions about the survey to email the Co-Chairs at:
bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on the 10th!

Bridget, Dave, Barbara and Vanisha, Co-Chairs of the BAME Staff Network

Reclaiming our Past: LGBT+ History Month blogs

A series of blog posts championing influential films, music, authors and historical figures has been launched to mark LGBT+ History Month.

The blog posts published so far on our EDI pages feature:

  • the inspirational author and activist Audre Lorde, written by Dr Stella Bolaki, Reader in the School of English
  • James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, described as a ‘stunning and startling piece of literature’ by Dr Declan Kavanagh, Senior Lecturer in the School of English

LGBT+ History Month, originally the idea of an American teacher in 1994, has been celebrated in Britain since 2005. Sue Sanders, who has spoken at the University, was one of the co-founders. It is held every February, marking the first attempt (in February 2000) to repeal Section 28, a highly discriminatory piece of legislation which made it an offence to ‘promote’ homosexuality.

The History Month serves as an important opportunity to celebrate LGBT+ histories and cultures, raising awareness by recovering the stories of those who are often erased (or ‘straight-washed’) from popular memory and making visible the achievements and obstacles overcome. Its remit is about ‘Claiming our past. Celebrating our present. Creating our future’.

Staff Network events

A series of events run by our LGBT+ Staff Network include LGBT in Lockdown – Wednesday 17 February from 18.00 and This Is Not My First Pandemic – Thursday 25 February from 18.00.

Our commitment to the Race Equality Charter

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.