Introduction to the REC
The Equality Charter Unit (ECU) began developing the Race Equality Charter (REC) in 2012 following the impact Athena SWAN has had in gender equality. ECU consulted on the concept of a race equality charter, developed a draft framework, and then consulted again with the sector. Following this development, they trialled the framework with volunteer institutions, resulting in 21 applications and eight institutions receiving a Bronze award (August 2015). There are currently 36 member institutions.
Keele obtained a Bronze award following submission in 2019. The redacted submission , including the action plan, is available for all to view.
The REC provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. It covers academic staff, professional services staff, student progression and attainment and diversity of the curriculum. As with Athena SWAN, REC is an evolving charter. Institutions are expected to start at Bronze level and progress to Silver. The award is at institutional level only but actions must be owned and implemented at Faculty/Directorate level.
The charter is based on five key principles. Institutions that apply to be part of the Charter commit to adopting these principles within policies, practices, action plans and cultures:
- Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.
- UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
- In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
- Minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions.
- All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those different identities should be considered wherever possible.
Race and Equality Charter
The RECSAT have produced a video to introduce the Race Equality Charter and the work being undertaken here at Keele. Special thanks to Cat Hallam for leading the production of this video.