Recent Activities, June 2020

Below is a summary of University of Leeds activities relating to equality and inclusion generally, and those focussed on racial equality.

Contents of this page

University Values

One of our five University values is Inclusiveness. We believe that every student, staff and other member of our community should be treated with dignity and mutual respect. We should all be part of a learning and working environment that is free from barriers, regardless of age, caring responsibilities, disabilities, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Overall University Equality and Inclusion framework 2020-2025

The University has finalised the Equality and Inclusion framework document that will govern its overall focus and activities to equality and inclusion for the coming period.

In addition to complying with all our legal duties under the Equality Act 2010, the University will advance equality and inclusion by:

  • providing an inclusive environment where everyone feels included and involved;
  • ensuring that our strategies, policies and practices are inclusive to students and staff from all backgrounds;
  • working in partnership with our students and staff to increase the engagement of the whole University community with Equality and Inclusion;
  • providing a clear framework which enables any unwanted conduct, behaviour or practice to be reported and which assures our students and staff of a robust process of investigation and appropriate action;
  • demonstrating senior leadership visibility and accountability for Equality and Inclusion.

Work will be advanced under five main themes:

1. Changing the culture and behaviours:
Embedding equality and inclusion into all aspects of University business and strategy, thus promoting an inclusive University-wide culture in which students and staff from all backgrounds have a strong sense of belonging and can work creatively and innovatively to achieve their own and the organisation’s ambitions.

2. Developing staff and the working environment:
Attracting, supporting, developing and retaining a talented workforce with improved diversity at all levels of the organisation.

3. Supporting students and student education:
Attracting, supporting, developing and retaining students from both home and international communities, providing an inclusive research-led curriculum and enabling all our students to achieve their future study and career aspirations.

4. Developing inclusive research culture:
Developing and implementing an inclusive research culture and environment.

5. Providing an accessible infrastructure:
Enhancing the physical and digital accessibility of our campus to enhance opportunities and experiences for all.

Equality & Inclusion sub-frameworks

Our activity will be taken forward through a series of specific, underpinning sub-frameworks addressing issues relating to race, gender, LGBT+ and disability.

These sub-frameworks and associated action plans will be developed and organised within the main E&I Themes allowing integration of activities and enabling intersectional issues to be addressed effectively. The actions will be measurable, have clear ownership and prioritised with timescales and milestones for delivery.

Once the individual action plans have been developed, these will be integrated into an institutional E&I action plan and a series of high-level KPI and targets will be identified for reporting to the University’s Equality & Inclusion Board (E&IB) – which is the body that has oversight of all E&I activity on behalf of the University Council.

Race Equality Framework and action plan

The Equality and Inclusion Board approved the University’s Race Equality Framework in February 2020, instructing the E&I Delivery Group (E&IDG) to develop a corresponding action plan to deliver on the aims set out in the framework. The E&IDG has been consulting on this action plan with employee representatives and our staff equality networks including the Leeds11 network of BAME staff members. It has also been working closely with the Educational Engagement team and the Inclusivity and Engagement Strategy Group established by the Taught Student Education Board (subcommittee of Senate) who are developing the new student access and success strategy. This whole institution strategy outlines the strategy for access and student success across all levels of study. As well as outlining priorities, it sets targets and timeframes.

The draft Race Equality action plan will be presented to E&IB at its meeting on 24th June 2020 for approval. The proposed priorities for the plan are:

  • Building trust amongst the University BAME community
  • Increasing the proportion of BAME staff in the University
  • Increasing the representation of BAME staff in senior and leadership roles
  • Supporting career development for BAME staff
  • Increasing disclosure rates from staff
  • Providing effective reporting mechanisms and feedback on actions taken following reports of racial harassment or complaints
  • Increasing student access and progression to higher degrees from BAME groups
  • Removing the awarding gap for BAME students

Within each group the individual actions will be ‘SMART’ including measurable outcomes, identified ownership and delivery time scales.

Race at Work Charter

Following the approval of the Race Equality Framework in February, the University has become a member of the Race At Work Charter. This commits us to publicly sign-up to five commitments:

  1. Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race
  2. Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
  3. Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  4. Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  5. Take action that supports minority ethnic career progression

University statement on Black Lives Matter

The University recently issued the following statement in response to recent events and its concern for our students, staff and alumni.

The University recognises that the shocking events in the USA and subsequent protests will have had a profound impact on our community.

As already expressed on our social media accounts, the University of Leeds stands in solidarity with our Black community and the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the fight against racism.

Racism and intolerance, in any form, have no place at our University.

From tonight (5 June) until Tuesday the Parkinson building will be lit purple, to express our support for #BlackLivesMatter.

This is in addition to statements made on Twitter, firstly through the University of Leeds account:

Racism in all forms is unacceptable. We stand with our Black staff and students, friends and family. We’ve had a lot of questions about how we support #BlackLivesMatter, which you can read below, but we know there’s a lot more work to do to support our Black community.

We are working to be an inclusive university;  it’s one of our core values, and it starts with attracting more BAME staff and students. Our widening access scheme, @AccessToLeeds has helped us recruit a significant proportion more BAME students to Leeds; 14.1% Black Caribbean and 27.3% Black African.

Our Access and Participation Plan commits us to closing the awarding gap among all BAME students from 12.7% in 2017/18 to 5.5% in 2024/25. We’re keeping up this good work through the Generating Genius programme that engages Black students interested in STEM with higher education.

We will soon launch our access and student success strategy – a five year outline of how we will address inequality across our student community. It also recognises the importance of staff diversity and how Black role models can enable others to succeed.

If you need it, direct support is on offer to our community through @LeedsEquality and the Help and Advice team @LeedsUniUnion.

Other support networks in the city includes @LSLCS, @LBEAssociation, @RaceJustice, @VolActionLeeds and @BME_hub.

Support and advice is also available through national charities and movements like @BlkLivesMatter, @ukblm, @UKBlackPride and @AntiRacismDay among many others.

We know that there is so much more to do, and our work here is only the beginning. #BlackLivesMatter

Then followed by the Equality & Inclusion Unit account:

The University of Leeds is proud of our diverse community of staff, students & alumni from across the globe. The University has inclusiveness as one of its key values. We know there’s more to do.

As part of our ongoing commitment to equality of opportunity, respect, fairness & inclusion, we’re developing an action plan to tackle racial inequality in our institution, and will be committing to the principles of the Race at Work Charter.

We recognise that recent events will have had a profound impact on many of our Black staff & students. If you need support, we’re here.

Student Support & Wellbeing
Staff Mental Health & Wellbeing
Universities Chaplaincy
LUU Help & Advice
UoL Equality