Category Archives: EDI

International Nonbinary People’s Day – 14 July

14 July is International Nonbinary People’s Day, where we celebrate the contributions and resilience of nonbinary people worldwide. We also join with people around the world raise awareness of the issues faced by nonbinary people. Nonbinary people do not identify with the binary distinctions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. In the UK, nonbinary people face poor mental health, physical harassment and ongoing discrimination.

To address this at Kent, we encourage you to engage with learning about the experiences of nonbinary people. The Stonewall “10 ways to step up as an Ally” highlights some steps that you can take as an individual to build an increasingly inclusive community at Kent. At Kent, our pronoun guide can help with creating an inclusive culture for everyone in our community. Our LGBT+ Staff network and student network are welcoming to all – the  Kent LGBT+ Staff Network blog has many resources, for both members of the community and allies, including a post wishing you a Happy International Nonbinary People’s Day!

We recognise there is more work to do in creating an inclusive community for nonbinary members of our community at Kent, and we encourage you to report incidents of harassment so that we can address systemic discriminations.

Throughout the day, stories written by nonbinary people will be shared on social media through the hashtags #internationalnonbinaryday and  #ThisIsWhatNonBinaryLooksLike – this is an opportunity to learn of the experience of nonbinary people and to amplify their voices.

BAME Staff Network statement in response to racism following England’s defeat in Euro 2020 final

From the Co-chairs of the BAME Staff Network:

Dear BAME Staff Network members and all University staff and students,

The BAME Staff Network wishes to express solidarity with all members of the Black staff and student university community, our local Black community in Canterbury and Medway, and our Black brothers and sisters across the nation in what has been a very upsetting and disturbing run of events following England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday. The racism to which the three marvellous England football team players, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, have been subjected to, is despicable – yet many people in the Black community have said, not surprising.  Indeed, many of them sadly predicted what unfolded, evidencing that we are still very much living in a society where racism is prevalent and where many Black members of our community continue to feel unfairly treated.

Yet again, we are reminded of how quickly the tide can turn when it comes to matters of race and how progress can be so seriously threatened – from Black Lives Matters, to unhindered and overt racism. There is so much more we as co-chairs can say, but for now we wish to acknowledge the deep hurt such abusive comments have caused to the players, their families and friends, and to all of our fellow Black citizens.

We wish to remind everyone of the policies against racism and harassment and the support services based at the university, should you feel the need to access these:

https://www.kent.ac.uk/hr-staffinformation/policies/dignity.html

https://www.kent.ac.uk/challenging-racism

https://www.kent.ac.uk/equality-diversity-inclusivity/harassment

https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-support

https://livekentac.sharepoint.com/sites/MentalHealthSupport

https://www.kent.ac.uk/equality-diversity-inclusivity/reporting-incidents

The events reaffirm the absolute need for us all to continue our discussions on race but more importantly, to take action at an individual and organisational level and have the courage to challenge any form of discrimination, overt or covert. Only through this collective action can we dismantle the structures which allow such behaviour to continue.

As the BAME Staff Network, we will certainly continue to engage in relevant discourses and action in coming months, and keep working towards dismantling systemic racism through our committed efforts as educators. If anyone wishes to contact the network co-chairs, even if it is simply to talk through how they feel about these events, please email bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk and we will arrange a suitable time to talk with you.

Take care all,

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

Pride Picnic heading on tartan blanket

Join our Pride Picnic on Monday 28 June

28 June marks the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and so LGBT+ colleagues and allies are warmly invited to join us on the Canterbury Campus from 17.00 on that Monday for a low-key post-work picnic.

Bring yourself, some drinks and some nibbles and meet us on the lawns between Rutherford and Eliot Colleges. All LGBT+ staff and allies are welcome. University of Kent rainbow lanyards will be available for anyone who wants one while stocks last!

For more information contact lgbtstaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk.

Supporting our trans and non-binary colleagues at Kent

We at the University of Kent are committed to fostering a positive working environment where all staff 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.

In recent years, the trans and non-binary community has become more visible in society and the public eye. We have been pleased to see increased awareness of the diversity of the trans community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this increased visibility has come with increased hostility towards some members of the trans community.

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;
  • They also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment, and  transphobia.

We will not stand by while trans people are fighting discrimination every day on multiple fronts, and facing harassment and violence. We are committed to trans inclusion. Recent news events and discussions related to Stonewall have amplified the discussion, particularly online, and we have published our response to this confirming our continued membership of Stonewall. This response underlines our commitment to freedom of speech, academic freedom, and inclusion, which are all University values.

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, nonbinary and intersex communities

Gender neutral toilets

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

Network support

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

Harassment reporting

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

This is though INK for Students or the Reporting Tool for Staff.

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 90 minutes long running in June/July and August all bookable via Staff Connect. Students have an online Bystander module that is part of the expect respect module within the student moodle.

The session includes:

  • A video demonstrating bystander apathy
  • References to 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.

Each session features four scenarios of negative behaviour, and there is group discussion and interactivity as part of this.

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 LGBT+ 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.

National Day for Staff Networks

From the Talent & Organisational Development Team:

On Wednesday 12 May 2021 Staff networks in organisations across the UK are celebrating the National Day for Staff Networks.

Also known as Networks Day, it aims to encourage collaboration, support aligned activity and further inspire the voice of network members. Many staff networks provide employees from under-represented groups with valuable guidance and timely advice as they navigate their organisation’s culture and endeavour to offer their authentic best in the workplace. ​

The theme for 2021 is #Togetherness.  

Why not connect with one of our Staff networks?

The Networks provide an opportunity for new and existing staff to meet people outside their own department.

Meetings run termly and dates are advertised on the website Staff Equalities Networks – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The EDI Forum

The overall purpose of the EDI network is to represent the views of staff and students, and act as a channel of communication for equality, diversity and inclusivity topics. Membership includes the departmental EDI Representatives, Staff and Student networks, harassment contacts and student union.

EDI Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent and join in the conversation on the EDI forum Teams site

The LGBT+ Staff Network

The network aims to raise the profile and promote positive attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) staff and all colleagues in the Rainbow Community across the university. We support LGBT+ colleagues in the workplace, and aim to contribute to the development of relevant university policies and practices so that they are LGBT-inclusive, so that Kent is truly a welcoming space for colleagues of all sexualities and gender identities. It has a Microsoft Teams channel which you can join by using the code skd6691.

LGBT+ Staff Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The Disability Staff Network (DSN)

The Disability Staff Network’s ambition is to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for colleagues with disabilities at Kent. Its purpose is to support disabled staff and those staff working with disability or with an interest in disability. It provides a forum to share information and consider good practice, providing recommendations to enhance University policy and practice where appropriate.

The DSN has a Teams/SharePoint page. If you experience any issues with accessing this please email dsnchair@kent.ac.uk to request to be added.

Disability Staff Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The Women’s Network

The Women’s Network has been running since 2004 and has been a positive initiative over the last few years. At a time when the University is keen to promote the recruitment, retention and recognition of women in higher education, and Kent in particular, the women’s network has been a group that offered valuable support to members, and feedback to the University on priorities for action.

Women’s Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

Harassment contacts

The harassment contacts comprise of individual members of staff who have volunteered to take on the role of the harassment contact. The University has appointed and trained some members of staff as harassment contacts to allow staff a point of contact should they feel they have been subjected to or witnessed any form of harassment.

Harassment Contacts – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The BAME Staff Network

The BAME Staff Network launched in October 2019 to support the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity and provide an active forum for BAME staff to discuss issues and share experiences important to them. The network bring a range of experience and knowledge related to both staff and students – critical to a nuanced contextual understanding of BAME experiences at the University. It creates a community for academic and professional staff who identify as being part of a Black Asian Minority ethnic group.  The aim is to help each other connect in ways that will create a sense of belonging through sharing our experiences and providing support that will drive progressive equitable change. Email: bamestaffnetwork@kent.ac.uk

BAME Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

Other networks – Contact Equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk for further information 

WREN – Women’s Researcher Network

Inclusion Allies and Mental Health Allies

Allyship is an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16 May 2021 – Nature

From the Talent & Organisational Development Team:

10 -16 May is Mental health awareness week with the theme of nature.

Why Nature?

During long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health. Websites which showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2000%. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more.

What you can do?

Stories are the best tools we have to influence change.

We want to hear your stories of how nature has supported your mental health. This might be as a simple as tending to a house plant, listening to the birds, touching the bark of trees, smelling flowers or writing a poem about our favourite nature spot.

Whatever it is for you, we invite you to #ConnectWithNature and share what this means for you on the Staff Wellbeing Yammer page

During Mental Health Awareness Week, we are asking you to do three things:

  • Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice!
  • Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others. Join the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
  • Talk about nature: find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment.

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit the Mental Health Awareness website or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Every day during mental health awareness,  find information on how you can support your own and others mental health – via Staff communications articles, T&OD Channel and EDI Forum Channel

Within the Themes of:

  • Connect
  • Be active
  • Take notice
  • Keep Learning
  • Give

On Monday 10 May – why not show your support by:

  • Changing your team’s background to one of these images below:

  • Attend the Training session on Monday 10 May 10.00 – 13.00 – Mental health training for line managers – bookable via staff connect or become a mental health ally (details to follow next week)
University of Kent logo

Are Unis Racist Documentary : University of Kent Response

Last night’s BBC documentary Are Unis Racist highlighted powerful and deeply troubling examples of students experiencing systemic racism at universities across the countryWe fully acknowledge the justified hurt and anger behind the issues raised in the programme, and we recognise that we, both as an institution and a wider sector, are institutionally racist and need to do more to tackle this. 

We know we have a significant role to play in ensuring that we challenge and deconstruct systemic racism and all forms of discrimination at the University and beyond. We will continue to address these issues at Kent, and encourage all members of our community to learn more about them so we can ensure we are a place where all individuals feel welcome, supported and proud of who we are. The resources put together on this by our BAME Staff Network  are available to everyone to further their understanding of their role in challenging racist behaviour and structures.  

We fully support our students and staff to report incidents of racism, harassment and discrimination Students can do this via our Inform Kent reporting tool which will ensure that you gain access to support available after any incidentwith a separate formal process for staff.  

We also encourage anyone affected by the documentary to seek support from those around you, including contacting Student Support directly at any time via wellbeing@kent.ac.uk.  Staff are also encouraged to talk to their manager or a colleague, or to contact our Employee Assistance Programme.    

Find out more about Challenging Racism at Kent

 

Virtual roundtable on Medical Racism – 29 April

All staff are invited to join a virtual roundtable on Medical Racism: Protecting Ourselves, Our Families and Our Communities on Thursday 29 April, from 17.30-19.00.

Structural racism has increased mistrust and hesitancy to engage with the medical system among Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Historical examples of unethical experimentation and medical mistreatment of Black people has heightened suspicion of endeavours to promote public health.

This virtual roundtable, organised by the universities of Kent and Oxford BAME/BME Staff Networks, will feature a panel of expert medical practitioners and scholars, including:

  • Dr Winston Morgan, Reader in toxicology and clinical biochemistry, Medicines Research Group, University of East London.
  • Dr Mohammed Sakel, Director NeuroRehabilitation, Consultant Physician, Director Research & Development, East Kent Hospital University
  • Dr Roberta Babb, Chartered Psychologist, Registered Clinical Psychologist, Registered Forensic Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, Media Psychologist, Life Coach and Organisational Consultant, The Hanover Center
  • Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, Patron of Sickle Cell UK
  • Dr Aadil El-Turabi, Vaccinologist specialising in Virus-Like Particles, Jenner Institute

To sign-up for the roundtable, click on this Eventbrite link. We look forward to seeing you there.

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

Challenging Racism – Live Webinar 19 April and Inclusion Circle 22 April

Continuing with our ‘Challenging Racism’ campaign, staff are invited to join us at two key events – a Live Webinar on 19 April and an Inclusion Circle session on 22 April.

For our final Live Webinar on Monday 19 April at 13.00, we are delighted to welcome Dr Jason Arday on ‘Let’s talk about race’.  The 90-minute online webinar is facilitated by Inclusive Employers, with a guest speaker, panel discussion and Q&A session.

We will be looking at why talking about race is difficult and why silence is so damaging to all of us, including:

  • What we can all do to encourage and improve conversations around race
  • Language and saying the ‘wrong’ thing
  • Top tips for starting conversations about race

Dr Jason Arday is an Associate Professor in Sociology at Durham University and Deputy Executive Dean for People and Culture in the Faculty of Social Science and Health. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at The Ohio State University in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an Adjunct Professor at Nelson Mandela University and a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading Race Equality think tank. He is a presenter, with Heidi Mirza, of a podcast on Dismantling Race in Higher Education. 

Book your place today via Eventbrite. You can listen to our two previous live webinars on the Challenging Racism Together webpages (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Inclusion Circle

Our next Inclusion Circle ‘Taking action on race inequality and inclusion’ will take place on Thursday 22 April at 10.00, and is open to staff from all ethnic backgrounds.

The aim of the Inclusion Circles is to create a safe environment to listen to staff concerns, shared lived experiences, discuss a variety of topics, and show solidarity. The 90-minute session is facilitated by Inclusive Employers consultants Aminata Pungi and Addison Barnett, and will include:

  • An open discussion on how to tackle racial inequality.
  • A facilitated conversation focusing on the problems and ideas for solutions.

Spaces are limited so please email ChallengingRacism@Kent.ac.uk if you would like to join.

About Challenging Racism

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.  If you have any questions, email challengingracism@kent.ac.uk

#EDI #challengingracismtogether #choosetochallenge

Marking Ramadan 2021

Ramadan begins on the evening of Monday 12 April and ends on the evening of Wednesday 12 May 2021. 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-ul- Fitr, a celebration to mark the end of Ramadan, which will take start on the evening of Wednesday 12 May and the evening of Thursday 13 May 2021.

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 15-16 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.

Find out more

For further information and guidance for managers and staff, take a look at the Inclusive employers Ramadan 2021 fact sheet.