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Race Equality Group (REG)

Race Equality Group

The University of Exeter has been a member of Advance HE's Race Equality Charter since 2019 and was one of 21 UK Universities that took part in the Equality Challenge Unit’s pilot of the Race Equality Charter, which aimed to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students.

Following on from the University's engagement in race equality accreditations, the Race Equality Group meets termly to discuss a range of ethnicity-related issues affecting staff and students at our institution and monitor our Race Equality Action Plan. (The Action Plan will be published soon).

The Group is chaired by Professor Janice Kay, Provost, and brings together academic and professional services staff, students, and colleagues from the Students' Guild (Devon) and the Students' Union (Cornwall).




Academic Member Dr Tudor Chinnah
Academic Member Dr Lara Choksey
Academic Member Dr Gihan Marasingha
Academic Member Dr Sana Rizvi
Academic Member Dr Bethany Roberts
Academic Member Dr MD Sharma
Academic Member Dr Joseph Sweetman
Academic Member Dr Salah Troudi
EDI Advisor

Beth Pitcher

Policy Team Member Charlotte Woollam
Policy Team Member Gareth Carey Jones
EDI Project Support Tom Caro
Professional Services Member Dr Jemma Morgan
Professional Services Member Liza Cheshire
HR Recruitment team Hannah Crowe
HR Director Imelda Rogers
Academic Member Rachel Burn
Student Representative Eleanor Lionel 
Student Representative Pip Uden
Students' Guild Member Vacant
Widening Participation Manager Nicola Sinclair
Student Representative Martha Abiola
Student Representative Ursula Agyeman-Frempong
Professional Services Member (Penryn) Ties Benguedda
Business School ADE Professor David Boughey
Arts & Culture Associate Director Sarah Campbell
Professional Services Member Kathryn Coombes
Professional Services Member Natalia Lopes De Araujo

UIG Nov 2020 Update on Race Equality and Anti-Racism activities

Executive Summary
This paper is designed to provide an update to the University InclusionGroup (UIG) of progress that has been made over the last few months on furthering our ambition to become an anti-racist institution. The activity highlighted in this report has been led by colleagues in the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, our University EDI networks (both staff and student) and colleagues involved in the Provost Commission, but has also drawn on support from many other individuals across our staff and student communities. Whilst the University has made positive progress on inclusivity in recent years, we are aware we have not yet gone far enough. Over the summer, we have been taking a fundamental look at our structures and processes; the way we understand, engage and support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and our communities, alongside looking at best practice across the sector and beyond to ensure we are set up to deliver fundamental and meaningful change across our whole University community. The University of Exeter is committed to addressing racial inequalities and creating an inclusive culture and environment where individuals are able to thrive, irrespective of their race or ethnicity. 
Race Equality Charter (REC) progress
Work on the charter continues according to schedule. We have completed the REC student survey and staff survey analysis. In terms of our response rate, for the student survey, we received 1199 responses, of these 389 (32%) were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students. We received 633 responses to the staff survey of these 72 (11%) were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members of staff. In terms of benchmarking with other Bronze REC award holders (one had 62 total responses for staff and students from a student body of 22591, and 1793 staff).
Work is underway on compiling the REC application in readiness for submission in July 2021.To ensure university wide engagement with this work, we have delivered a series of presentations to provide updates on REC progress, and to engage colleges/departments and discuss how they can be involved at “local level”. To date, discussions have been held with the Inclusion groups of: CMH, SSIS, CLES, HR and HUMS.
Work has commenced on developing the Race Equality action plan, and we will be in a position to share this at the Spring term UIG meeting. As we have been pulling together this action plan, in conjunction with our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community, we have identified six key pan-university areas which align with our Everyone Welcome, Many Voices, One Community University EDI vision 2019-2025:
Pillar 1: Recruitment, recognition and reward/HR policies and redress
We will be working to actively develop Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leadership and ensure inclusive representation within recruitment processes. We are reviewing our reporting tools and our support for victims alongside our response to incidents via a dedicated Inclusive HR group. We will also be focussing on the inclusivity of our wellbeing policies and ensuring targeted support for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community. Specific activities currently taking place under this these are:
Inclusive HR Task and Finish Group
The Inclusive HR Task and Finish Group is an ongoing piece of work which is scheduled to conclude in November 2020). Work on this group commenced in August 2020 and is distributed over 4 months (August, September, October and November 2020). The purpose of the group is to support the wider Race Equality work by making tangible recommendations that will be incorporated into the institutional Race Equality Action plan going forward. This work is chaired by Director of HR Imelda Rogers.
Group membership includes both HR staff and staff from the wider community, and the work of the group will focus on:
- reviewing feedback received to date from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members of staff regarding some of our existing procedures;
-assessing the suitability of some suggestions that have been put forward to address some of these issues.
-making recommendation on the best way forward to incorporate into the Race Equality Action plan.
The themes in scope of the group are:
-Recruitment and selection.
-Career development.
-Raising concerns (including grievance and disciplinary procedures)
-Workload allocation for Race Equality work.
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Leadership development programmes
Applications are currently open for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates to take part in the following programmes:
- Advance HE Diversifying Leadership Programme: designed to support early-career academics and professional services staff from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who are about to take their first steps into a leadership role. It explores themes of power and influence, demystifying leadership, cultural identity and cultural capital, increasing your visibility and authentic leadership and features leadership stories from high-profile HE leaders
- The Elevate programme: The first pilot of its kind, this programme offers a unique opportunity for Professional Services and Academic staff (who identify as female) to meet, share, support and learn together from across the four GW4 universities in the South West (Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Exeter).
The deadline for submitting an application is Friday the 20th of November 2020. Further information can be found by visiting the webpages
Pillar 2: Education, curriculum and success for all
Associate Academic Dean for Racial Equality and Inclusion
We have an absolute commitment to an inclusive curriculum and anti-racist pedagogy and are currently recruiting an Associate Academic Dean for Racial Equality and Inclusion, and associated Professional Services support to help with the creation and momentum of this. Interviews took place week commencing 19th October, with representatives of the University’s BME Network and Race Equality Group on the panel and further engagement with staff and student communities through a series of student and staff pre-panels. An excellent candidate has been appointed and will start in post very soon.
Decolonising Groups Discussions
Politics Penryn launched the Decolonising the Curriculum Departmental Review on Wednesday 21st October 2020 with an in-conversation online event attended by almost 60 students. The Review brings together findings from student experiences, staff interviews and module data and offers several recommendations for lecturers, the department and the University for meaningful work to decolonise curricula. The Politics department has published a response, outlining its proposals for taking the recommendations forward.
Pillar 3: Our values, academic freedom, addressing hate crime and online harms
We will be producing an Anti-racist manifesto, which will clearly set out our commitment to anti-racism, the proactive and positive steps that we are taking to become an anti-racist University and also provide an opportunity to communicate our zero-tolerance to racism. We are examining our structures and processes and the Inclusive HR Group will provide recommendations for our next steps to move us forward and create a safer, more diverse and inclusive community.
In October 2020, we hosted a joint event with Devon County council, Exeter community safety partnership and Devon County council to raise awareness of extremism, links to hate crimes and reporting and support avenues available. Just under 300 people registered for the event. The recording and resources relating to hate crime and extremism will be circulated to attendees.
The EDI team were also pleased to welcome officers from the Devon & Cornwall Police Diverse Communities Team and a local third-party hate crime reporting centre to the Cornwall Anti-racism Forum for a focused session on race-based hate crime and incidents. The session was attended by colleagues from the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, FX Plus and The Students' Union.
Pillar 4: Community and engagement
Let’s Talk series
In August we launched the BME Network and The Provost Commission -Let's Talk series of events, which are currently focussed on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Awarding Gap. These sessions bring together colleagues working to reduce our awarding gaps with members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community to discuss progress and actions across key areas, whilst encouraging open and transparent discussions and looking to increase the impact and pace of change. The sessions are open to all members of the community who would like to take part, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic voices are prioritised within these discussions. Given the success of the series so far, the EDI team are beginning to look at opportunities to create a similar series of events focused on a new topic area, ideally one that addresses intersectionality.
£25k student-led anti-racism fund
Following discussions with The Unlearn Collective, the University has committed £25,000 in the academic year 20/21 for student led anti-racism projects. These projects will be identified and led by the student body, with support via the Education incubator to ensure initiatives have access to the support infrastructure and networks needed to ensure their success. We hope that through the link with the Education Incubator (that funds innovative developments in teaching including project work in decolonising the curriculum), there will also be lots of opportunity for student and staff projects to spark off each other.
It is anticipated that the fund will support between 5-10 projects across 20/21, with the funds able to be used for a combination of salary funding (via the student campus partner scheme) and other related costs such as speakers, catering, travel and publishing costs. Disbursement arrangements are being finalised and the fund will be launched imminently.
For Black History month this year, we sought to profile our African Caribbean society and share resources and recommendations for all students and staff to learn more about black history and culture. A special bulletin was sent out at the start of the month promoting films, books, podcasts and internal training opportunities alongside the various events planned for Black History Month. Black History MonthFollowing the momentum of previous years, each college has shown outstanding dedication to honouring Black History Month despite the current circumstances. Every week has been packed with events ranging from research showcases, role model blogs, training sessions from specialists across disciplines and esteemed guest appearances including Dr Patrick Vernon OBE, Pamela Maynard CEO of Avanade, Prof. Gretchen Gerzina Dean of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, South West Author and poet Louisa Adjoa Parker and many more. 
Particular mention to Oli Young who led on organising over 15 events in EUBS alone including a writing competition and BHM themed Hackathon and to the Jemma Morgan in the WP Team for the BHM outreach they have done with teachers in the local community. 
Anti-Racist Exe Book Club
Following a presentation and discussion at Senior Management Group over the Summer, the BME Network launched the Anti-Racist Exe bookclub with the University’s Senior Management Group. The book club is due to meet for the second time shortly and they are reading ‘Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your PrivilegeMembers will be considering practical ways the text can inform their practices/leadership at the University as well as how it influences any anti-racism actions. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Alumni GroupPlans are currently underway for the creation of a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Alumni Network, following discussions with our alumni community and colleagues in Global Advancement. The network is likely to offer a chance for specific Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic mentorship, increase visibility of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic alumni community allow the University the opportunity to amplify the voices of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community of alumni. We hope to launch this network within the academic year and will keep the University Inclusivity Group updated with plans. Cornwall Anti-Racism ForumThere was a great appetite from colleagues in Cornwall to continue these discussions in-house after local events took place in Falmouth and Truro throughout June, following the death of George Floyd and as part of BLM Protests. The EDI team held a 90-minute drop-in session in June for colleagues in Cornwall to talk about racism and its impacts on campus as well as in the wider community. Following discussions across a range of different topics and themes, attendees agreed that it would be useful for the drop-in to become a monthly recurring forum which is now a social space to talk openly, discuss the issues highlighted by the BLM movement and find out about local anti-racism efforts in our workplaces and communities. Rae Preston leads on the organisation and each month covers a new resource or theme. The sessions are open to all staff and PGRs at the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, FX Plus and The Students’ Union with a focus on the Cornwall community.
BME Network Support
As part of the University’s ongoing engagement with the BME Network, the EDI Team has recently reviewed and clarified its role and is providing more regular support for the networon request including more meeting support, web and social media assistance, and aiding with the move into the online environment including access to online asynchronous platforms and supporting the reinstatement of recurring social meetings.
Pillar 5: Training
Student EDI Training e-Module
In September 2020 the University launched an EDI training e-module for all students. All students will be expected to complete the training as part of their induction requirements (follow up on completion is underway within the EDI team). It is important that we acknowledge that some students may already be skilled in this area but for others, the topics covered in the training may highlight new opportunities for learning. The training is intended to deliver a foundational level of knowledge and shared understanding for all and students are encouraged to implement what they learn into their wider university journey. The course covers topics such as how to challenge unacceptable behaviour, what the law says, understanding what equality, diversity and inclusion actually means, alongside University of Exeter policies and guidelines.
The training is available via ELE, and linked to from the mandatory training sections of the New and Returning Students Guides and is paired with a feedback process for improving this further for future students. Feedback is also welcomed to the EDI team via email
Bystander Intervention Training
We are looking to hold Bystander Intervention training for 125 student leaders during 2020/21 working with Dr Rachel Fenton in the Law School. This training was originally due to be held in May 2020 but postponed due to CV-19 pandemic. Plans are underway to host later in 2020/21.
Cultural Competence –Partnership with Georgetown
In July 2020 the University launched the Cultural Competence Community of Practice Training, led by Tawara Goode and Suzanne Bronheim of The National Centre of Cultural Competence (NCCC) at Georgetown University. 27 members of staff from across the university community are taking part. The University and NCCC are working together to advance Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Exeter by piloting a programme to establish a Community of Practice of leaders in cultural competence. The programme will work with the Community of Practice to:
Define cultural competence within a range of contexts and define the rationales for cultural competence at Exeter
Identify and examine the implications/benefits of culturally competent systems, behaviours and processes on outcomes and experiences for staff and students
Identify how the benefits of cultural competence could be applied
Develop actions, projects and next steps
Share the experience and knowledge gained with the wider community. 
Training for HR Investigation Officers
We are delivering 2x two-hour sessions for investigation officers on recognising and challenging microaggressions and supporting cases where microaggressions may be the issue. There will be two sessions, 28th October and 16th November which will also be open to HR Business Partners and Advisors.
Anti-Racism Coaching Sessions
A two hour 1:1 anti-racism training session has been designed and delivered as an accompaniment to the disciplinary procedure. The coaching session included the basics of EDI with an extra focus on self-reflection, privilege, and unconscious bias. As we maintain a close relationship with our HR and Student Cases teams for we hope to utilise suitable opportunities for this approach again in future.
Pillar 6: Research
We commit to building a more inclusive research culture, highlighting our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic researchers and research and ensuring the highest quality support. We are investigating how our Global Research partnerships could enable us to create more diverse linkages across the world and drive more inclusive co-working and research exchange.
Unconscious Bias Training for REF panels
The EDI delivered two Unconscious Bias training sessions in conjunction with the REF team in September 2020. The EDI will continue to work with the REF team on developing the requisite EIA (Equality Impact Assessment) process for the 2021 REF submission.
REF Individual Circumstances Panel
Linda Peka, VCEG Lead for EDI and Dorcas Cowan, EDI Manager, took part in the REF Individual Circumstances panel. The panel forms part of the University’s preparations for REF 2021 and is designed to ensure that all staff who have had personal circumstances that have impacted in their ability to research productively during the REF period have an opportunity to have those circumstances taken into account. The panel met recently, chaired by Linda Peka, and the University’s EDI principles have been at the forefront of the panel discussions.
Research Deep Dive
A deep dive into research through an EDI lens (involving our Independent Dual Assurance Lead for EDI) is scheduled to take place in November which will consider EDI within the REF process, the impact of CV-19on researchers by characteristic, embedding Equality Impact Assessments into research planning and processes with a view to looking ahead to creating and fostering an Inclusive Research culture
Niema Bohrayba
Shades Chaudhary
Lizzie Caughey
Jen Fook
Rae Preston
Beth Pitcher
October 2020

Current REG priorities

For more information about our Race Equality Action Plan, our key priority areas and the actions that come under it, please visit our dedicated Race Equality Charter Action Plan page here.