Category Archives: EDI

Janice Markey appointed Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Congratulations to Janice Markey for being appointed as the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. 

A published writer and higher-degree graduate, Janice has studied and worked as a Lecturer and Journalist in Germany, Canada and the UK. She has led on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at a wide range of different organizations including Tower Hamlets, Westminster and Brighton and Hove Councils, London Ambulance Service as well as at several universities including the University of Southampton and Manchester Metropolitan. She enabled London Ambulance Service to become one of the Top 100 Employers on the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index in the last five applications she led on and has successfully overseen Athena Swan submissions and Race Equality Charter work as well as attaining the Disability Confident Leader accreditation for the University of Southampton, the first university in the country to be awarded this status.

In her free time Janice enjoys going to the theatre and gym and also doing music reviews.

City mentoring

2022 Kent Staff Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Awards

Do you know a member of staff who has made a difference through their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work this year?

We recognise that EDI is the work of everyone and changes in daily practice make big impacts in the lives of those around us. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is ongoing work.

It requires continuous learning and relearning, with the understanding that there is often no end point, and that’s why we want to make sure this work does not go unnoticed.

We want to celebrate all the staff members who have made Kent a more inclusive community.

So, if you know of someone who has championed EDI in any way this year, let us know! Maybe someone has listened to your feedback and changed their practice to make it more inclusive?

Or perhaps you’ve noticed a small but significant action that someone in your team has made, that has changed your experience at work for the better? Whatever the action, big or small, we want to hear about it!

You can submit as many nominations as you want – we have so many fantastic members of staff working on EDI initiatives all year round.

An afternoon of tea and cake will take place on 8 June to celebrate the nominees.

Click here to nominate a staff member

Nominations will close at 8.00 on 24 May 2022. Invitations to the awards tea (on 8 June) will be issued on 31 May.

Challenging Racism project update

Update from Leroy | Race Equality Charter Co-ordinator

Since our last update the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Team has been working on our Race Equality Charter (REC) and at the end of 2021, introduced our Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment (RECSAT) Team to analyse its data.

Here’s more information about the Race Equality Charter and the work being done by the Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team:

What is the REC?

The Race Equality Charter (REC) is an AdvanceHE charter mark focussed at Higher Education (HE) institutions reflecting and tackling race inequality. It follows fairly similar principles to AthenaSWAN with the exception that its focus is ethnicity rather than gender. It asks us as an institution to set up a Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (RECSAT).

What is RECSAT?

The Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (RECSAT), is the committee involved in analysing our application, commenting and critiquing on data.

We established the RECSAT in December 2021 and since then it has had two full meetings and they have been discussing topics such as the University’s wider EDI work alongside how we go about fulfilling REC requirements.

Outcome from the RECSAT meetings

The RECSAT decided to continue to use the term racially minoritised in Kent. While we know that the term racially minoritised isn’t perfect, we all acknowledge the problems the term Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) brings, especially how it excludes some minoritised communities and homogenises others.

As set out in the Antiracism Strategy; racially minoritised is a term increasingly used in EDI work as an alternative to BAME as it highlights the social construction of racial categorisation. However, the term racially minoritised also has limitations:

  • it could be perceived as passive and limiting in terms of individual agency
  • it also risks homogenising the experience of individuals and communities who experience racism in different ways.

The term is used here fully aware of these limitations but in acknowledgement that there is no consensus on a new national preferred terminology as of yet.

Where we classify racially minoritised and we as an institution support racially minoritised individuals, there may be a mismatch in support from external providers and we are looking to see how we can do that effectively.

We would encourage staff and students to talk to RECSAT members so that thoughts and opinions can enhance meetings. We would ask however to respect that the individuals are students and full time staff and may also have a lot of things on their plate alongside the vital work they are doing in the REC.

One of the other key things that our RECSAT emphasised in their previous meetings, is the importance of making spaces and mechanisms with proper throughput of lived experiences of staff and students. Members stressed the importance of listening and discussing these things and not losing the spaces that provide them, as well as ensuring what’s heard is acted upon and taken up with feedback and progress.

Discussions of the things that come out of RECSAT meetings will form part of the REC action plan as well.

The EDI Team has been working on our REC application with the input of the RECSAT and staff around the institution.

How you can get involved

If you’re a group of staff, a student network, Divisional EDI team, a person who wants to know more, get involved or mention something to us, do get in touch.

There are some quick and easy things you can do:

  • Have open discussions about EDI between yourselves and your Divisional/Departmental EDI teams. The more we talk, the more we can listen, the more we can improve. Those things can feed into the REC process and our EDI forum.
  • Ensure you’ve got your demographic information complete as possible and up to date on StaffConnect. We need to ensure we have as complete a picture as possible when we do our work to make sure it has the widest impact.

There are resources in Kent and across the board that can help you get started, enhance what you know with some intersectionality in Kent:

Progress on student demands

Throughout the REC and antiracism work we have been doing we are keeping a close eye on the student demands and what we can do to take more action on them.

Kent made its Antiracism Strategy in response to student demands as well as to incorporate the University’s commitment to being an antiracist institution. An action plan to that strategy is being made as part of our REC submission process to push the progress in a positive direction with meaningful accountability.

We are setting up a Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Group. The group will include staff and students and look at potentially being an independent panel having no senior management involved in the processes.

The excellent survey made by the BAME staff network is entering its next phase. Big shout out to the network co-chairs for the amazing piece of work they are continuing.

Other institutional progress

Kent has signed up to StellarHE Executive Development Programme for Diverse Leaders (BAME) in Higher Education. It is aimed at academic and professional staff aspiring to senior leadership positions in Higher Education and we have submitted our first round of staff to the programme.

Our Response to the EHRC Equality Act Report

The recent media attention surrounding the Equality and Human Right Commission report “Separate and single-sex service providers: a guide on the Equality Act sex and gender reassignment provisions” has created some confusion, uncertainty and debate around the interpretation it brings when it comes to the use of facilities such as toilets and changing rooms.

At Kent we recognise that the responses of some institutions are placing our trans, nonbinary and intersex colleagues at an increased risk of harm. We affirm our commitment to members of these communities at Kent, and to our ongoing work to remove discriminatory practices and approaches that place them at risk of harm.

At the University we have our own EDI policy, Dignity at Work policy and Trans Student Support policy but given the press attention, we feel it necessary to clarify our position that we want to work towards an environment where individuals can feel safe and comfortable to use the facilities including toilets and changing rooms, that matches their gender, without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Context

This most recent media attention is situated in an ongoing context, where trans and non-binary people face discrimination and harassment:

  • At work, including from colleagues, managers, customers and clients;
  • In public, including verbal and physical abuse;
  • Online, particularly on social media where targeted harassment, bullying and abusive comments and even attempts to find and share trans people’s previous names and current address are increasingly common;
  • Trans people also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment.

We at the University of Kent are committed to fostering a positive working environment where all employees are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration. All staff have a responsibility to create an environment that is free from harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination and victimisation. We do not – and will not – tolerate discrimination and harassment within our institution. We have been pleased to see growing awareness of the diversity of the trans and non-binary community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this visibility has come with a rise in hostility towards some members of the trans community.

Harassment reporting

We fully support and encourage all our students and staff to report incidents of harassment and discrimination using existing policies.

Toilet Facilities

We have maps of both our Canterbury and Medway campuses highlighting the location of gender neutral toilets. We want individuals to be comfortable using the facilities that match their gender, without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Join our communities

Access resources

Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the LGBTQIA+ community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.

Our LGBTQ+ network have a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.

Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.

Rainbow Lanyard

The University of Kent Rainbow Lanyard celebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.

Marking Ramadan 2022

Article by the Talent and Organisational Development team 

Ramadan begins on the evening of  Saturday 2 April and ends on the evening of Sunday 1 May 2022.

Muslims follow the lunar calendar, so the exact start and end dates depend on the sighting of the moon so these dates can vary slightly.

Ramadan is followed by the festival of  Eid al-Fitr  which for the year 2022 is celebrated/ observed on sundown of Monday 2 May ending at sundown on Tuesday 3 May.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Muslims believe it is the month during which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) over 1400 years ago. Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims and it is considered that the reward of good deeds during this month are multiplied several fold.

During Ramadan, from dawn until sunset, Muslims are obliged to abstain from all forms of food, drink (including water), smoking and sexual activity. Most Muslims will wake before dawn for a meal before the start of their fast (also known as Suhoor), and break their fast (also known as Iftar) with dates and water at sunset, and then a meal.

This year, fasts in the UK will last around 14-15 hours. The start and end times vary as the month progresses.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The overall purpose of the fast is to gain Taqwa (which means to gain piety or God consciousness). This is achieved through an increase in prayers, reading the Qur’an, self-reflection and self-discipline.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal, which follows Ramadan as the 10th month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar.

Its name comes from an Arabic term which translates as the “feast of breaking the fast” and, although not a public holiday in the UK, it is for many Muslim countries.

It marks the end of Ramadan and was originated by the prophet Muhammad. It is one of two global festivals celebrated by Muslims every year, the other being Eid al-Adha, which falls later in the summer and honours Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one to three days, depending on the country. Fasting is forbidden on the Day of Eid, in contrast to the 30 days that came before.

Find out more

For further information and guidance:

transgender flag

Transgender Day of Visibility – support and allyship for trans staff

International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) is an annual event on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society. 

Read our Staff LGBT+ Network’s joint statement on Trans Inclusion and Support.

What does it mean to be Transgender or Trans? 

Transgender, or Trans, is as an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Someone who is trans may identify as (not limited to) transgender, non-binary, or genderqueer. 

Support at Kent for trans students and staff 

There is a Trans Support Group in Canterbury that meets twice a month. It is open to trans, intersex and non-binary people at Kent. The group is run by trans/non-binary people for trans/non-binary people. Family and partners are welcome. 

We have gender neutral toilet facilities across our campuses, and these will increase as building improvements and construction takes place.  

Our Mental Health Support pages feature resources to help you maintain your mental wellbeing. This includes our Employee Assistance Programme, tools and tips to help take care of yourself. 

How can you be a good ally to trans people? 

Cisgender, or Cis, describes someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned to at birth.  

There are lots of simple ways you can become a better ally and show support to trans colleagues, such as: 

  • Updating your pronouns on your email signature, Zoom screen and Teams profile. Include a link to a website such as mypronouns.org for people to find out more. 
  • Wear one of our new Rainbow lanyards. These are designed around the ‘Inclusion Flag’ which incorporates the Pride rainbow flag with pink, blue, brown and black, representing the trans community and people of colour within the LGBT+ community.  
  • Tweet your support using #TDOV2022 and tagging @UniKent and @KentLGBTStaff. 
  • Familiarise yourself with policies, guidance and terminology. 

Here are more ways you can be a good ally

Study into the Experience of Transgender Students in Higher Education 

Lynne Regan from Student Support and Wellbeing, recently gave multiple talks about her research on the Experience of Transgender Students in Higher Education, including a presentation to members of the Executive Group. 

You can watch the recording and view the PowerPoint slides to learn more about Lynne’s findings and her suggestions for what we can do at Kent to improve the experience of our trans students.  

LGBTQ+ Staff Network 

The Staff Network is open to all staff, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. It helps promote equality and diversity and to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ people and issues. It also organises social events so that staff can network and seek advice and support from fellow colleagues. Please email the staff network if you are interested in joining.

If you work closely with students, please see our support for trans student support blogpost.

transgender flag

Kent’s response to EHRC statements on upcoming LGBTQ+ legislation

The University of Kent is committed to fostering a positive working environment where all staff are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration. We recognise that the response of some institutions, both international and national, regarding plans to legislate for a ban on conversion therapy in England and Wales, and Gender Recognition Act reform in Scotland, are placing our trans colleagues at an increased risk of harm.

We do not – and will not – tolerate discrimination and harassment within our institution. We have been pleased to see growing awareness of the diversity of the trans and non-binary community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this visibility has come with a rise in hostility towards some members of the trans community.

We encourage all staff and students to actively engage in increasing their understanding of the issues facing the trans and non-binary communities and to take action to create a more inclusive environment. To understand more around the specific current concerns, the Stonewall response to EHRC statements on upcoming LGBTQ+ legislation and Mermaids’ response to the EHRC highlight the impact that this is having on the trans and non-binary communities.

This is situated in an ongoing context, where Trans and non-binary people face discrimination and harassment:

  • At work, including from colleagues, managers, customers and clients;
  • In public, including verbal and physical abuse;
  • Online, particularly on social media where targeted harassment, bullying and abusive comments and even attempts to find and share trans people’s previous names and current address are increasingly common;
  • Trans people also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment.

As an institution, we are committed to speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia, challenging decisions that exclude trans people, including ways of thinking that perpetuate a rigid gender binary, learning how best we can support our trans colleagues at all times, and educating ourselves and those around us.

For members of our trans, non-binary and intersex communities

Network support

Join our communities – the Staff LGBTQ+ Network, Kent Union LGBTQ+ Network and Trans, non-binary, intersex and questioning peer support group are here to support you.

Gender neutral toilets

We recognise that this is a particular concern for trans and non-binary members of our community, and we have maps of both our Canterbury and Medway campuses highlighting the location of gender neutral toilets.

Harassment reporting

We fully support and encourage all our students and staff to report incidents of harassment and discrimination.

Rainbow Lanyard

The University of Kent Rainbow Lanyard celebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.

For allies

We recognise that it can be challenging to know how to support other members of our community facing discrimination and harassment or speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia. Below are some actions that you can take.

Update your email signatures

Add your pronouns to your email signature, (Pronouns means how you identify — he/him, she/her, they/them, for instance — and how you’d like other people to refer to you. This is a great, inclusive practice for everyone, even or especially if you’re cisgender – if you’re not sure what this means, Stonewall have put together a helpful glossary).

Active Bystander training

‘Active Bystander’ is an innovative and award-winning training session which gives staff and students the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviours, including those which may have become normalised over time.

We have three sessions planned which are running in April, June and August all bookable via Staff Connect. Students have an online Bystander module that is part of the Expect Respect module on the student Moodle site.

Learn more about the challenges members of our community face

Online training in Staff Training Moodle on Transgender Awareness and LGBTQI – these are easily accessible, available at any time and give an introduction to the challenges members of our community face. We recommend that all staff engage with these training opportunities.

Access resources

Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the trans community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.

Our LGBTQ+ network have a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.

Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.

Rainbow Lanyard

The University of Kent Rainbow Lanyard celebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.  

Have your say

EDI Forum: Join us for our first ‘open-access’ meeting on 3 February

Do you have an Equality, Diversity or Inclusion matter you would like to raise or discuss? The EDI Forum is the place to do this.

The EDI Forum provides an open-access channel for any member of the University (staff or student, regardless of location) to discuss an idea, issue, good practice initiative or concern relating to equality, diversity and inclusivity at Kent.

As the Forum is open to anyone, all meetings will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. We strongly encourage members of the equality staff and student networks to attend, as well as Divisional and Trade Union equality representatives and leads.  

The Forum will be chaired on a rotational basis by its members. The (Interim) Head of EDI will be in attendance to ensure relevant ideas, issues or concerns are raised, investigated and addressed directly with EDI Strategy Strategy Group.

The first meeting is taking place via Teams on Thursday 3 February from 14.00-15.30. If you’re interested in joining the conversation, please go to the EDI Forum webpage where you will be able to link directly through to the meeting.

You can also find out more about the EDI Forum on the EDI Forum webpage.

If you have any questions please email equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk (staff) or becky.lamyman@kent.ac.uk (students).

Students on grass at Canterbury campus

Time to Talk Day – Thursday 3 February 

From Claire Chapman, Talent and Organisational Development Consultant

Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation and it’s nearly here! Taking place on Thursday 3 February, it’s the day that we can all come together to talk, listen and change lives.

Why talking is important

One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year.We want everyone to feel comfortable talking about mental health – whenever they like. Talking about mental health reduces stigma, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.That’s why opening up the conversation about mental health problems is so important – by talking about it we can support ourselves and others. Talking and listening about mental health has the power to change lives. Each conversation we have contributes to reducing mental health stigma, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it

Walk and talk

Side by side conversations can make talking about mental health feel less awkward. Check out these tips for talking to help break the ice. Why not combine getting out in the fresh air with a chat, come and join the Walk and Talk on Thursday 3 February at 13.00. Meeting out the front of the Registry (Darwin Side), we will have a 30-minute walk around the campus, maybe taking in one of the routes of our campus walks. However you do it, have a conversation about mental health.

Support for you

Remember the University has a number of resources available to you, from the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to Mental Health Allies and our Training and Referral Scheme – full details can be found on our Mental Health and Wellbeing webpages.

There are also a number of resources available to help you on Time to Talk day – from interactive bingo, screen savers and meeting backgrounds to true and false information and a conversation starter game. You can download these and other resources from the Time to Talk website.

Claire Chapman | Talent and Organisational Development Consultant

Stellar HE participants

Applications invited for StellarHE leadership programme

From Martin Atkinson, Director of HR and Organisational Development

We recently adopted our new Antiracism Strategy, one key aim of which is to “Dismantle barriers to racially minoritised staff members’ success and belonging”, which includes an action to provide leadership development opportunities and mentoring for racially minoritised staff.

As a first step towards this aim, we have committed to supporting members of the Kent community to take part in the StellarHE programme. StellarHE enhances and extends the leadership skills of racially minoritised Academic and Professional staff in order to address the under-representation of racially minoritised leaders in senior positions. It has been designed specifically to equip participants with leadership competencies and strategies that reflect the unique challenges and experiences of racially minoritised staff across the HE sector.

The programme is for staff who aspire to operate at a senior, strategic level here at Kent – both academic and professional services, and we are delighted to have secured seven places for Kent delegates, with a dedicated place available to one colleague from each of LSSJ, NatSci and CEMS and four further places available to all colleagues in every area

As places are limited, and there is substantial need in this area, we will be running an internal process, but to minimise additional work will use the StellarHE application form that can be found on the T&OD page under BAME Senior Leadership. (There is no need to complete the additional A4 page or biography unless you are shortlisted).

Applicants need to send the completed form and manager statement to ldev@kent.ac.uk  by 17:00 on Friday 14 January 2022, using the email subject line ‘StellarHE’.

Places will be awarded on a competitive basis – after the deadline, a panel will be convened to review the applications based on the selection criteria in the StellarHE enrolment form. Applicants will also be reviewed on how their applications demonstrate the positive impacts of their participation on:

  • the individual and their career;
  • their team/department/Kent;
  • race equality at Kent.

Applicants will be notified of an outcome via email by Friday 21 January 2021.

Martin Atkinson | Director of HR and Organisational Development