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Race Equality Charter

Race Equality Charter

The Race Equality Charter (REC) aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.

The Race Equality Charter is administrated by Advance HE, a charity which aims to reduce inequalities across the sector and also manages the Athena Swan accreditation. 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. Member institutions develop initiatives and solutions for action, and can apply for a Bronze or Silver REC award, depending on their level of progress. As of July 2021, only 17 institutions hold a Bronze award, and none hold a Silver award.

Race Equality Charter Bronze Award

The University of Exeter has secured a Race Equality Charter bronze award that recognises the University’s commitment to and efforts towards advancing race equality in higher education.

A Bronze award recognises that an institution has a solid foundation for enhancing race equity and developing an inclusive culture that values and supports all colleagues and students, acknowledging commitment and preparation to act. This is reflected in the REC’s five fundamental guiding principles which the University signed up to as part of its membership of the charter.

Through continued collaboration with its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team led by the previous Race Equality Charter Manager, Niema Bohrayba, the BME Network, Student Societies and the Race Equality Group with leadership by our Provost, the University has identified gaps, listened to students and staff and co-created impactful actions to guide its practice over the next five years. This is one step in the direction of continuing the journey towards becoming an anti-racist university as aspired in the 2030 Strategy.

Our Progress So Far

In April and May 2020, members of our community were invited to complete a student survey or a staff survey as part of the self-assessment process and to help us better understand our context. Over 600 staff and almost 1,200 students completed the survey in which they were asked questions on their experiences at Exeter. This will help us to discern how race has an impact on the experiences of members of our community.

From August to November 2020, an Inclusive HR Task and Finish Group was set up to supplement the work of the Self Assessment Team (SAT). The group reviewed feedback from staff, suggested solutions to resolve the issues, and fed into the REC action plan.

In July 2021, we submitted a draft application to receive feedback from Advance HE. We are particularly proud of positive feedback on Speak Out - our 'sector-leading' reporting tool, our commitment of £25,000 to student-led anti-racism projects, and Elevate - our staff leadership and development programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women.

From August 2021, we have a closer working relationship with the Policy, Planning, and Business Intelligence team to source data for the application and fill any remaining gaps.

In November 2021, we consulted with our community about the definitions we would use in our REC application and beyond. This conversation is still ongoing, but we have decided to continue the use of the acronym BAME when referring to data categories within our REC application until there is consensus on a better alternative.

Our findings were presented to Council in February 2022 and senior stakeholders discussed its impact on their workstreams.

After working on the feedback, our application was submitted to Advance HE in the February 2022 round.

In May 2022, the University participated in the new trial minor revisions process. We provided small updates to our application including providing more context on how the REC fits into out institutional strategy, providing further data on the Ethnicity Pay Gap, and making minor changes to the sturcture of our Action Plan.

Following the minor revisions process, the University secured the Bronze award in July 2022.

Going forward, we will seek to publicise our application and action plan, and the Self Assessment Team will move to become an implementation group.