A response to the Report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities from our Race Equality Self-Assessment Team and Students’ Union

Our Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team and Students' Union have considered the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, in its report which was published on 31 March 2021. We cannot accept, on the basis of the evidence that is publicly available, the report’s conclusion that the UK does not have a systemic problem with racism. We reject too the suggestion that institutional racism is not a feature of universities in the UK today. We reaffirm our commitment to tackling race-based inequalities in all their forms across the institution. In response to this report, we feel the need to continue with greater urgency our efforts to deepen our collective understanding of the multiple ways in which racism manifests itself. We would also stress the significance of intersectionality in connecting anti-racist activity with struggles against other pervasive, social inequalities.

Among the initiatives we have taken to tackle racism on our own campus are the following: a new unconscious bias training module; anti-racism workshops and modules; a new student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion induction module for September 2021; anti-racist allies training for staff beginning with our Council and the University Executive; a new programme of race equality mentoring scheme for managers; a new online anonymous reporting tool for staff and students; our continuing Race Equality Lecture Series and various other forums for public discussion of racism and its impact. Furthermore, all Schools are actively working to decolonise their curricula to ensure that all subjects are studied from a suitably diverse range of perspectives, and to make all classrooms safer and inclusive spaces.

With the introduction and delivery of these anti-racist initiatives, we hope to create meaningful and sustainable change and to lay the groundwork for cultural transformation here at Keele. We are determined to shape an environment where all students and staff feel equally safe, included and respected whilst studying, working and socialising together.

We have a long way to go but are firmly committed to this process and recognise that this is a long-term challenge, one we can only meet successfully if we work together in solidarity.

For more reflections on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, including links to some of the evidence on which we base our rejection of its key findings, please read our blog post that has been written by members of our Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team (RECSAT).