Tackling racism at GCU

We have taken a proactive, whole institution approach to prioritise the tackling of racism and racial inequalities. After a strategic discussion at our People Committee, a sub-committee of University Court, in March 2019, a Tackling Racism Group was established to develop recommendations for the University. The Committee and our Executive Board approved a set of 9 recommendations in October 2020 for the University to implement. The recommendations are informed by external evidence and internal expertise and the lived experience of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student community as well as academic, research and professional support staff. The full set of recommendations are:

  1. Ensure that each service and function across GCU makes a commitment to tackle racism and racial inequalities
  2. Target recruitment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people
  3. Commit to taking active steps, including supporting staff, to decolonise the curriculum
  4. Address student attainment gap data by focusing on the sources of structural exclusion rather than the students themselves
  5. Commit to providing compulsory race and racism-focused training and development on a range of topics for all staff and leaders
  6. Develop and communicate appropriate, rigorous, and safe mechanisms for the University to receive reports of racism in confidence; and develop and communicate appropriate mechanisms to enable the University’s services and functions to receive feedback
  7. Support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic businesses and social enterprises by ensuring that procurement procedures are inclusive and by providing opportunities for partnership working
  8. Ensure Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student and staff data are part of regular, mainstream University reports
  9. Take active steps to communicate and make visible these recommendations and more broadly GCU’s commitment to tackle racism and racial inequalities

There are clear lines of accountability as each recommendation is assigned to an Executive lead and supporting action plans for each recommendation are currently being developed.

This internal activity has been complemented by our Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Pamela Gillies’ public support for Advance HE’s declaration on anti-racism in August 2020.

Tackling Racism at GCU Group

Terms of Reference

The University has signed Advance HE’s declaration on anti-racism:

Racism exists on our campuses and in our society. Call it what it is and reject it in all its forms. We stand united against racism. Call it racism, challenge racist behaviour, change racist structures

and this Group’s primary purpose is to ensure that the University upholds this commitment.


  1. To support, direct and advise Executive Board on how the University implements the tackling racism recommendations
  2. To monitor implementation by receiving progress reports from the named Executive Board lead for each recommendation via the relevant group or committee
  3. To evaluate progress and highlight any concerns about progress and make appropriate recommendations
  4. To report progress on implementation to the People Committee

Frequency of meetings
The Group will meet on a monthly basis.




Bipasha Ahmed

Equality Champion & Senior Lecturer, GCU London

Julius Cesar Alejandre

PhD student and Department PG rep, SCEBE

Tuleen Boutaleb (Chair)

Race Equality Champion & Associate Dean International, SCEBE

Ima Jackson

Senior Lecturer, SHLS

Kenneth Lawani (Vice Chair)

Senior Lecturer, SCEBE

Adrian Lui

Equality and Diversity Advisor, People Services

Frances MacInnes

Senior Lecturer, SHLS & University Common Good Lead

Mel McKenna

Equal Pay Working Group member & Disability Adviser/Disability Support Officer, Student Wellbeing

Michael Marshall

PhD student, Yunus Centre and Department PG rep, GSBS

Valentine Morgan

Head of Communications and Public Affairs

Patty Munoz de Escalona

Senior Lecturer, SCEBE

Tabitha Nyariki

Vice President SHLS, Students’ Association

Osman Rafiq

Senior IT Assistant, IT

Adil Rahoo

Vice President GSBS, Students’ Association

Davena Rankin


Equal Pay Working Group member & Head of International Partnership Administration and Governance, Department of Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions

Lani Russell

Senior Lecturer, GSBS

Karen Thomson

Associate Dean International, SHLS

Emmanuelle Tulle

Professor, GSBS

Advance HE Tackling racism on campus project

GCU has been an active member of Advance HE’s Tackling racism on campus project.

The project is funded by the Scottish Funding Council in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into racial harassment on university campuses, and is led by an expert group of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion practitioners, academics, tertiary education staff and students.

The project has been developing evidence-based resources to be used by Scottish universities and colleges as they respond the findings highlighted in the EHRC inquiry report. These resources will be launched in March 2021 and will be shared across the GCU community to support our own work on tackling racism.

For further information, visit Advance HE's Tackiling Racism on Campus project webpages.