University publishes plan to build a more inclusive campus for all students and staff

The University of Liverpool has today published a plan, ‘Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged – A University of Liverpool Response’, which highlights the activity taking place across the University to tackle racial harassment and build a more inclusive campus for all students and staff.

Last year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a report entitled ‘Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged’. This report laid bare some startling truths about the higher education sector. In particular, that racial harassment was underreported, reporting mechanisms were ineffectual, and our sector was not doing enough to stamp out discrimination wherever it may manifest.

We know from local resolution, informal complaint, and feedback from the Liverpool Guild of Students, that the experiences of some of our students and staff are not represented in the relatively few complaints we receive about racial harassment; and we are determined to address that

Implementing change

The EHRC report formed the catalyst for an examination into the University’s work in building a more equitable and welcoming campus. In response to the EHRC report a working group was set up, led by Professor Fiona Beveridge, with an aim of developing initiatives to empower all students and staff to report harassment, and to understand how we can ensure students and staff feel confident complaints will be dealt with effectively. Over the last year this group also looked at the role students and staff should play in building a more equitable culture on campus and the visibility of the University’s commitment to anti-racist practice to staff, students, and the wider community.

As part of this work the University has:

• Agreed a new partnership with The Anthony Walker Foundation to support training and community engagement work
• Introduced a new online reporting system for students and staff to report harassment and hate crime, Report + Support
• Agreed to sign up to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter (REC) with the explicit goal of eliminating any racial disparities for staff and students and achieving race equity on campus
This is just some of the activity which has, and is, taking place across the University. There is a momentum across a wide range of activity and more detail of this work can be found in our report.

Initial steps

Professor Fiona Beveridge, Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “The hard work of students and staff from across the University, as part of our EHRC Working Group, have made this plan possible following an extensive period of reflection and review.

“We all can, and must, do more, to eradicate racism and discrimination whether it manifests in our communities, in our University, or in society at large.

“These are important initial steps which enable us to better tackle race discrimination but we are not complacent and know that we, as an institution, need to do more.

“We are committed to the work we need to do to address inequalities and, as part of this work, we will be raising awareness amongst our students and staff of both the new ‘Report + Support’ system and our new partnership with The Anthony Walker Foundation.

“These initial steps will help us on our journey to become the more inclusive University that we aspire to be.”

The full report, entitled ‘Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged – A University of Liverpool Response’, can be found here.

More details on The Anthony Walker Foundation can be found here.

More details about the University’s ‘Report + Support’ system can be found here.