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University launches Black Lives Matter Antiracist Commitment Plan

Black Lives Matter news

Today, 25 May 2021, the University shares its ambitious Black Lives Matter Antiracist Commitment Plan, which will address disparities faced by Black students and staff.

One year ago today, the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a renewed focus on the experiences of Black people – not only in the United States but around the world and here in the UK. The systemic racism which led to George Floyd’s death was not new, but the Black Lives Matter movement helped develop a sharper focus on the unequal treatment faced by Black people around the world.  

At BCU, the events last summer had a profound impact on staff and students. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the University embarked on a project to better understand its own inequalities and today has released its Black Lives Matter Antiracist Commitment Plan 2020 - 2025.

Developed by a working group consisting of BCU staff, students and recent alumni, the plan sets out a path forward for the next five years, with actions designed to tackle the barriers that hinder equality of opportunity across the University. Whilst some actions are already underway, such as signing up to the Race Equality Charter and developing a new Report and Support system, the plan will ensure that sustained efforts are made to address racism and inequality across the University in the coming years.

The plan sets out actions which will be taken across four key areas:

Learning, teaching and assessment: By creating a fair, safe and supportive learning environment for our students, we will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

Research and knowledge exchange: With enhanced support to achieve race equity and equality for researchers and professors, we will spark a renewed commitment to improving diversity in our research community and celebrate the achievements of Black BCU scholars.

People, values and partnerships: By reviewing and enhancing our recruitment practices, we will achieve a more diverse staff community at all levels, promoting our values through a vibrant programme of activity that delivers real outcomes for equality diversity and inclusion.

Leadership: Our new University strategy will place a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion at its heart, with the leadership of our organisation taking individual and collective responsibility to drive change.

Speaking on the launch of the plan, Vice-Chancellor Philip Plowden said: “I’m pleased that today, one year on from the murder of George Floyd, we are able to share our plan with staff and students.

“Let’s be clear – we have to go beyond achieving an absence of discrimination. We must deliver positive action to ensure inclusivity and support for our Black students and staff, who too often face barriers and an inequality of opportunity. Whether it’s in our teaching, recruitment practices, leadership or support for individuals, we can and will do better.

“I urge all staff to engage with this plan and play their part in driving forward the actions which will help us create a fairer, more equal University.”

Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Imogeen Denton said, “The events of last year placed a spotlight on the injustice and well documented disparities that are face by Black people locally, nationally and internationally. Many people rightly question whether these events will lead to lasting change. We know that having a good plan is not enough on its own. It will take a concerted collaborative effort from us all and true commitment from senior leaders to make a difference.

“I would like to thank the members of the Black Lives Matter Antiracist Commitment Plan working group for their ongoing support, and Professor Alison Honour, PVC and Executive Dean Faculty of Arts, Design and Media as Executive sponsor on the project.”

Moving forwards, members of the University’s Executive Group will act as executive sponsors of the plan, ensuring that key strands of activity are progressed and real change implemented. Progress on this plan will be measured and driven by the University’s EDI Committee, with oversight from the HR Committee of the University’s Board of Governors. The University will share updates on the implementation of the plan through the EDI Annual Report, as well as ongoing communication with staff and students.

The plan is one part of the University’s ongoing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work, which aims to ensure all staff and students are treated fairly and with respect. A full EDI Strategy will be launched shortly, bringing together work to promote better experiences for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality or other elements of identity.

Find out more about the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work here.

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