The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark, Tamir Rice and the many others whose names we do not know have brought sadness and anguish to our University community and our deepest sympathies go to the families and friends of those who have been impacted.
As a University community we have been deeply moved by these tragic events in the US which have clearly highlighted the racial inequalities that are still sadly prevalent in all parts of society. Staff and students have voiced the need for change as part of the Black Lives Matter movement and we must support and respond to these calls.
The University of Plymouth places great importance on equality, diversity and inclusion. Over the past twelve months we have made further strides in enacting our zero-tolerance pledge against all forms of abuse, harm and hate including racism in whatever form it presents itself. In direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement we have donated funds to both Plymouth Hope to support their work in the local BAME community and Plymouth Pride to support their work with LGBT+ asylum seekers in Plymouth. We continue to be a long-standing supporter of Diversity Business Incubator in Plymouth by providing resource and staffing to help in their work with local BAME entrepreneurs.
The Black Lives Matter movement galvanises us all to address the engrained inequalities, biases and pervasive racism that still exists in, but should have no place in, modern society.
We are committed to further building on our current work to further address racism, abuse, harm and hate. We understand that as a University we have a responsibility to always do better and to lead the way in responding to inequalities and inequities in society.
We strongly urge anyone who has experienced abuse, harm or hate at the University to report these incidents to us at the earliest opportunity. Staff, students and visitors can report incidents via several routes:
- Speak Up – our online, anonymous reporting tool
- Dignity and Respect Advisors – a network of trained, confidential advisors who can offer a listening ear and guidance on next steps
- Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team can offer confidential, non-judgemental advice and go through your options with you
We recognise that this is a time of trauma and distress for our community, and that some staff and students will be particularly strongly affected. This is a reminder that support is available. Students are encouraged to contact Student Services with their concerns and to access wellbeing support from wherever they are, whilst staff and contractors can contact Human Resources to report their concerns and access support.
Over the coming weeks and months we will continue our work on tackling racism and address any questions related to how the University responds to racism, how we monitor our progress and how we celebrate our diverse community at the University of Plymouth. We will always do our best to improve the lives of our Black, Asian, minority-ethnic staff and students.
The University of Plymouth joins as a community of staff and students to affirm that Black Lives Matter.
Professor Judith Petts CBE
Vice-Chancellor, University of Plymouth
We welcome the report on ‘Tackling Racial Inequalities in Universities’ from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). This report has highlighted the issues of racial inequalities across the HE sector and has provided us with a framework to thoroughly investigate and address the issues raised. As a University, we place enormous value on the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion and it is these values which make the University of Plymouth such an enriching place for study and for employment. This EHRC report will help to inform our application to the Race Equality Charter in 2022 and will also feed into our renewed Equality Scheme in 2021
The University of Plymouth will act on every report of harassment, discrimination, bullying or behaviours that threaten to undermine someone’s dignity, in the swiftest way possible. Should evidence be found that such an act has occurred, the University will take immediate appropriate action.
Race Equality Charter
Race inequality is an issue across the Higher Education sector and the University of Plymouth is taking steps to address this in student attainment, staff promotions and decolonising our curriculum by submitting to Advance HE's Race Equality Charter (REC) by 2022.
This ambitious target will be met by the University's REC Self-Assessment Team, led by Professor Kamran Ali and Anne Bentley amongst colleagues from all Faculties, departments subsidiary companies and UPSU.
We are committed to taking real action against racial injustice and all forms of abuse, harm or hate wherever the occur and we can achieve this thanks to our community partners and our submission to Advance HE's Race Equality Charter.
The University of Plymouth is responding to the call for change from staff and students, and we want to ensure that their voice is included in every step of our journey. Any incidents of abuse, harm or hate can be recoded anonymously via our Speak Up tool or you can contact the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team for help and advice.