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Sexual Orientation Equality Group (SOEG)

Sexual Orientation Equality Group

Each year the University participates in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI), a benchmarking tool which evaluates our initiatives and helps us better understand the challenges of creating an inclusive working environment for LGBT employees.

Following on from the University's engagement in these Sexual Orientation equality accreditations, the Sexual Orientation Equality Group meets termly to discuss a range of sexual orientation and gender identity-related issues affecting staff and students at our institution and monitor our Sexual Orientation Equality Action Plan.

The Group is chaired by Dr Michael Wykes, Director of Policy, Planning and Business Intelligence and brings together academic and professional services staff, students and colleagues from the Students' Guild (Exeter) and the Students' Union (Cornwall).



UEB Level Chair Michael Wykes
Academic Member  Professor Jana Funke
Academic Member Professor Rebecca Langlands
PhD/PTA Member TBC
LGBTQ+ Network Representative Jasper Privett
Student Wellbeing Helen Anderson
Policy Team Representative Charlotte Woollam
Professional Services Representative Rosie Logiudice
Trans Representative  TBC
Non-binary Representative Caspian Robson
Penryn Representative Corrina Lowry
LGBTQ+ Society Rep Marianne Baly
SU Pride Society Rep Helen Wightman-Smith
VP Liberation & Equality, Exeter Students' Guild Emma de Saram
The SU Welfare & Inclusivity Kira Orchard
EDI Advisor Deborah Lee
EDI Manager Dorcas Cowan
Project Support  Tom Caro

Current SOEG priorities

The requirement to improve LGBTQ+ monitoring and declaration rates through data collection and communication.  This will help identify support requirements and enable more detailed data analysis, for example, appointment and career development statistics, so that appropriate actions can be taken. 

A) Request Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity information at recruitment stage.

B) Campaign of communications to encourage current staff to complete monitoring questions through the employee self-service portal, explaining how data is used and the associated benefits. 
Further work on mental health and wellbeing strategies that addresses the needs of LGBTQ+ staff and students.    Research shows that LGBTQ+ people are far more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than the general population.

A) Work with colleagues in Wellbeing to ensure that mental health and wellbeing related resources are in place which target LGBTQ+ people.

B) Work with appropriate partners and networks to investigate specific initiatives to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote support mechanisms.
Further work on policy inclusiveness.  Many policies have been updated to ensure LGBTQ+ inclusiveness, but some further work has been identified, especially in the provision of relevant LGBTQ+ examples and examples of multiple marginalisations.

A) Continue work reviewing and updating policies with the goal of ensuring LGBTQ+ inclusiveness of all policies.

B) Include a wider range of examples to accompany policies that better represents all communities within the University.
Recognising that LGBTQ+ staff and students are able to work best when they can truly be themselves and feel comfortable within the university environment, increase support for senior managers to understand the issues that affect LBGTQ+ people and to be visible allies.

A) Work with senior allies to refresh profile web pages for 2023.

B) Encourage senior managers to engage with LGBTQ+ events and initiatives to increase their awareness of issues and demonstrate allyship and/or act as senior role models.
Work with partners, contractors and suppliers with the aim of maintaining an environment which is consistent with the University’s EDI vision and maintains our LGBTQ+ inclusive culture and equality values.

A) Gap analysis of where the focus of further work is required - liaise with procurement and other teams who regularly deal with external partners.

B) Explore possibilities to collaborate and engage with partners/suppliers/contractors at LGBTQ+ related events and initiatives and share best practice.