Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Keele is a diverse, inclusive and professional community that respects individuals and enables them to strive for success in order to contribute positively and sustainably in the local region, wider society and national economy.

Our students, academics and professional staff are drawn from over 100 different countries. That rich mix of cultures and our strong sense of community and cohesion provide opportunities for all staff and students to live, work and socialise in an internationalised environment. This enhances our global outlook and helps Keele act as a local and regional gateway to the rest of the world.

At Keele we value the rights, responsibilities and dignity of individuals through our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and place our Keele community at the heart of everything that we do. Keele strives to be one of the leading Universities in the country by creating a positive environment where everybody is valued and is able to reach their potential.

The Equality Act became law in October 2010. It replaces previous equalities legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995). The Act covers the same groups that were protected by existing equality legislation – age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. These are now called ‘protected characteristics’ (PC’s).


The public sector equality duty, also known as the general duty came into force on 6th April 2011, and replaces the separate duties relating to race, disability, and gender equality. In the exercise of its functions the University must have due regard to the need to;

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimization, and other conduct prohibited by the act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Under this duty the University will;

  • Collect and publish its equality information
  • Engage with staff and students on equality issues
  • Identify and publish a set of equality objectives
  • Undertake Equality Impact Assessments
  • Direct Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic.
  • Associative discrimination is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.
  • Perceptive discrimination is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic.
  • Indirect discrimination can occur when you have a condition, rule, policy or even a practice in your company that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic.
  • Discrimination arising from a disability: it is discrimination to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability (eg a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising from dyslexia). This type of discrimination is unlawful where the employer or other person acting for the employer knows, or could reasonably be expected to know, that the person has a disability.
  • Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour related to a protected characteristic, or which is of a sexual nature, that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating of offensive environment. The Equality Act 2010 also prohibits further and higher education institutions from harassing students covered by the education provisions.
  • The Equality Act 2010 also prohibits further and higher education institutions from victimising staff and students covered by the education provisions.
  • Victimisation is defined in the Act as treating someone badly because they have done a ‘protected act’ (or because the institution believes that a person has or is going to do a protected act).

A ‘protected act’ is:

  • Making a claim or complaint of discrimination (under the Equality Act).
  • Helping someone else to make a claim by giving evidence or information.
  • Making an allegation that the further or higher education institution or someone else has breached the Act.
  • Doing anything else in connection with the Act.

The University condemns all types of discrimination for any of the protected characteristics for example because of age, disability, gender reassignment*, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. This includes any form of behaviour which leads to discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

*Gender reassignment is the legal term used within the Equality Act. There is no requirement for any medical intervention for an individual to be covered under the Equality Act and gender reassignment may cover gender identity and gender expression more widely.


Keele University has developed four equality objectives in line with its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the public sector equality duty. The objectives have been developed in collaboration with our staff, students, and Staff Unions.

The equality objectives support all three aims of the general duty (to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality, and foster good relations) and are specific and measurable. The four equality objectives are listed below and they are further detailed in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy. Work to ensure relevant action is taken and monitored is carried out by our Directorates EDI Action Group together with EDI groups in academic departments. Strategy is driven by the EDI Steering Group with oversight from a committee including members of Council and UEC (the EDI Oversight Group).


  1. Inclusive leadership and decision making at all levels of the organisation.
  2. Inclusive student experience/student lifecycle.
  3. Accessible and inclusive campus.
  4. Progressive, informed, diverse and supported workforce.

As a leading example of an open and integrated community Keele University strives to be a place where learning, living and working is a positive experience for all.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are core values underpinning the University’s mission to making a difference in society by providing innovative, high-quality education for students from all backgrounds and by undertaking world-leading research that transforms understanding and brings benefit to society, communities and individuals (Keele University - Our Vision 2020).

Observing Keele’s founding ethos of ‘the pursuit of truth in the company of friends’, the University is committed to the following values:

  • The transformative capacity of education for individuals, communities and society
  • Equality of educational opportunity
  • Advancing knowledge through independent research and academic enquiry
  • Environmental sustainability for the sake of future generations
  • Delivering exceptional service and experience in all its activities
  • Valuing the rights, responsibilities, dignity, health and well-being of individuals through its commitment to equality and diversity
  • Valuing probity and integrity in all its activities
  • Exemplifying the highest standards of leadership and governance in the Higher Education sector

The equality, diversity and inclusion strategy 2018-2022 sets out core principles and priorities for Keele University in support of this commitment, and provides an underpinning foundation for the development of a range of complementary policies, practice and procedures.