GCU pledges support to Advance HE's Declaration on Anti-Racism

Fri, 14 Aug 2020 09:52:00 BST
GCU is taking part in a sector-wide webinar on anti-racism
GCU is taking part in a sector-wide webinar on anti-racism

Principal Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE is joining other principals from universities across Scotland in an Advance HE Declaration on Anti-Racism to be announced today.

The declaration includes the statements, "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’ and ‘Call it racism, challenge racist behaviour, change racist structures".  A sector-wide webinar is being held to mark the declaration which will include the Scottish Funding Council's Donna MacKinnon, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead, and speakers from across the sector.

The webinar is part of the Scottish Funding Council-backed Tackling Racism on Campus Project. The project is developing resources to help Scottish universities and colleges respond to the findings of last year's Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry which reported on the scale of racial harassment in Britain's universities. 

The report revaled that racial harassment was a common experience for students and staff, with 24% of students from ethnic minority backgrounds saying they had experienced racial harassment and one in 20 students saying racism had made them leave their studies. More than a quarter of staff said they had experienced racist name-calling, insults and jokes; three in 20 said racial harassment caused them to leave their jobs. The Commission also reported that the sector failed to understand the issue and lacked confidence in dealing with race issues. It made a series of recommendations for the UK and devolved governments, funders, regulators and universities. 

The Tackling Racism on Campus project is part of a series of activities launched by SFC, Universities Scotland and the sector to respond to the EHRC's recommendations. GCU's Equality and Diversity Advisor Adrian Lui is a member of the project's Steering Group, which is working with the sector, including at an extraordinary meeting of the Universities Scotland Secretaries Group, to ensure that practical resources and tangible actions underpin its response.‚Äč