Our approach to equality and diversity
As a higher education institution, employer, service provider and a public authority, York St John University is committed to complying with equalities and human rights law, and, in particular, meeting the requirements of the public sector Equality Duty.
The Duty requires the University to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- Promote equality of opportunity
- Foster good relations, including tackling prejudice and promoting understanding
We also have a duty to publish equality objectives once every 4 years and to report annually on progress in relation to meeting the public sector Equality Duty.
York St John University has always been proud to stand up for social justice, and we have now made this commitment unequivocally clear through our University Strategy 2026. The core value of promoting fairness and challenging prejudice is expressed through a strategic aim to be at the forefront of eliminating inequalities in higher education, reflected in our students’ outcomes, while we have set out ambitious measures of success that hold us to account towards students and staff.
Supporting the University Strategy 2026, is the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Strategy. Our goal is to:
Create an environment where our people can participate and flourish, where equality, humanity and social justice are valued and promoted within and beyond York St John University.
- Close gaps in opportunities and outcomes because of a particular, or combination of, socio-economic status, disability, gender and/or any other status where disparities are not justified.
- Engage a diverse representation of students with the implementation of the Learning and Teaching Strategy.
- Make our working environment more accessible, inclusive and fair, by understanding and addressing barriers.
- Address existing race inequalities, achieve a culturally diverse and inclusive environment, and pull individuals from all ethnic backgrounds.
- Create and deliver a collaborative programme to promote freedom of speech, while fostering respectful interaction, free from discrimination, violence and abuse.
- Embed a culture of respect and promotion of healthy relationships, geared towards addressing and preventing hate crime, harassment, sexual misconduct and domestic abuse.
- Create an accountability framework for University, Schools and Services for the delivery of the EDHR strategy, supported by capacity building of all staff to learn, educate and challenge.
By 2026, this means:
- Positive TEF metrics in satisfaction, retention and outcomes for underrepresented groups.
- 10% BME student and staff population.
- All staff are engaged in Equality & Diversity training and development appropriate to their role.
- Median gender pay gap below 10%.
- 95% of staff think the University is a good place to work.
The Equality and Diversity Annual Report provides an overview of the work done by York St John University in the delivery of the University’s equality objectives, drawing attention to key achievements and challenges.
Our Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy Statement sets out the University’s commitment to producing, implementing, reviewing and monitoring policies which promote equality, diversity and human rights, and to sustaining an environment which is free from all forms of unfair treatment, discrimination and harassment for all those who study, work and engage with the institution.
The University aims to ensure that we promote equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our work, and comply with equality duties. An equality impact assessment (EIA) is a structured approach to address inequalities and build an inclusive environment, helping to close gaps between groups. An EIA should be conducted as soon as a policy, procedure or practice is under consideration, or early enough during a project to influence decisions. View the Equality impact assessment page on the intranet
Regulations introduced as part of the Equality Act 2010 (section 147) require that UK organisations with more than 250 staff report and publish specific information on an annual basis relating to: the median gender pay gap and mean gender pay gap; quartile pay bands; and any gender gaps in bonus pay.
We publish this information in annual reports which provide the detail behind our figures and the actions we are taking in relation to these issues.
We strive to be a diverse and inclusive community. We want all students and staff to reach their full potential and believe that ensuring our education provision and employment practices meet the needs of our diverse students and staff helps us achieve that. As part of that we collect information about our students and staff. Equality and diversity monitoring helps us to:
- Understand the diversity of our university community
- Better meet the needs of our diverse community
- See the impact our work has on diverse students and staff
- Know what progress we are making with equality, diversity and inclusion
- Demonstrate compliance with the law
The data we collect and how we collect it
We collect data related to age, disability, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion and transgender identity. We also ask students about being a carer or a care leaver so our dedicated officer can contact you about the support and benefits you may be entitled to.
We collect data from our students at the point of application either directly to the university of through UCAS. We collect data from staff through the recruitment process.
What we do with the data
The data enables us to monitor the diversity of our student and staff population and identify whether we need to do more to recruit or retain people with diverse identities and backgrounds. We use the information to check progress against our equality objectives, to improve our policies and practices and provide equal opportunities to all students and staff. The information also helps us to identify gaps and barriers.
We report on our student and staff population annually to the governing body and publish equality data on our website. Every year, we send some of the information we hold about our students and staff to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). This forms your HESA record which includes information about your age, disability status, ethnicity, gender, as well as gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion or belief, should you choose to provide it. This information assists with nationwide monitoring of equality of opportunity and eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act. The information is used by Advance HE (previously Equality Challenge Unit) for their annual statistical reports on equality in higher education. Neither HESA nor Advance HE can use the anonymised data in any way to identify individuals.
If you don't want to give information
You do not have to give information, but it will help you and the wider student and staff community as well as the University if you do.
We will be able to know how we are doing, in particular whether people from all backgrounds are represented and have the same opportunities and outcomes, and where we may need to do more. If you do not wish to give information, then you can choose the ‘prefer not to say’ option for any or all fields. We will record this as ‘Unknown’, and exclude your record from analysis of these fields. See also Stonewall’s guide What’s it got to do with you? on why you should fill out those boxes.
A taskforce was set up to understand what racial inequalities currently exist and identify steps to address these. This work should help York St John offer a welcoming and inclusive environment for a diverse community, increasing the representation of BAME staff and students to 10% of the University’s population by 2026. More information is on Moodle.
Language is evolving continuously and there are a number of terms in use around race and ethnicity. We recognise the limitations of terminology. Two key terms we are using are BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and White.
We are mindful that ethnic and racial groups are more diverse. The Equality Act 2010 says that people who share a colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins can be described as belonging to a particular racial group. Ethnic and racial groups include, for example, British Asians, Black Jamaicans, Jews, White East Europeans, Gypsies and Travellers. The university welcomes contributions from people of any ethnic and racial group about racial inequalities and how we can address these.
Kirsten Jolley, SU President Wellbeing and Diversity, and Tarry Bowen, SU BAME Officer, are student representatives on the implementation group. They act as a critical friend and liaise with Students’ Union and students, inform them, collate responses and provide feedback to the implementation group. The SU BAME Officer works closely with the President Wellbeing and Diversity to ensure a diverse voice is heard in the SU and beyond. It is a voluntary role.
A designated BAME student contact is based in the Student Success and Engagement Team in Student Life. Emma Maslin is able to meet with BAME students to discuss issues so that student services meet the cultural and social needs of BAME students.
The International Student Support team aims to help international students feel supported. If you have any questions or just want to say hello to our friendly team, please get in touch. They run the Global Campus Programme that offers opportunities for UK and international students to meet and share cultural learning.
YSJSU Cultural and Faith Societies are places to connect with and meet similar people, celebrate cultural and faith specific events and ensure all students are represented equally and fairly.
Racism is not tolerated and must be tackled as soon as possible. If it happens to you or you witness it, please tell someone using Report and Support.
As part of our commitment to develop and maintain an accessible, inclusive and fair working environment, we are currently in the process of applying for an institutional level Athena SWAN Bronze Award.
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 with the aim of supporting the advancement of women's careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). In 2015 the Charter was expanded to also include staff in the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), alongside professional and support staff, to recognise the importance of gender equality more broadly in universities.
To find out more about the Athena SWAN Charter you can visit the Advance HE web pages.
Our access and participation plans set out how we improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education.
Dignity and respect
The social and cultural diversity that everyone brings to our community is of immense value to the university. All students and staff are expected to act with courtesy and respect, contribute to our inclusive and welcoming community, challenge exclusion and prejudice, take responsibility for resolving problems and seek support when needed.
The Dignity at Work Policy sets out the rights and responsibilities of our staff to act with respect and consideration to others at work. The Dignity at Work Procedure sets out the approach to be taken when dealing with concerns or complaints of harassment, bullying or inappropriate behaviour raised by members of staff.
Staff may speak to their line manager, Head of School, a member of the Human Resources Department or a Trade Union Representative. In addition, staff may also access counselling services through the Employee Assistance Programme.
The University recognises that making the decision to raise concerns can be difficult, therefore a staff network was set up as a mean of support. Members of the Dignity and Respect Network are trained volunteers, who are there to listen, and to offer confidential support and are an impartial first point of contact to discuss your concerns.
For information about the network and links to the University’s Policies and Procedures and supporting information, please access the Dignity and Respect page on the intranet.
Our Dignity and Respect Network members are trained volunteers who are there to listen, and to offer confidential support to staff across the University. So, if you feel unhappy about how others behave towards you, or you feel you are being bullied or harassed at work, please get in touch with a member of Dignity at Work Network. The LGBT Staff Network is also available for support should this be required.
The following may be of interest:
The University has a Student Harassment and Bullying Policy & Procedure which details information on what to do and advice on how to respond. The University has also established a network of trained Student Harassment Advisors to help support students who believe they are being bullied or harassed by other students. If appropriate one of our Welfare Advisors can offer facilitated meetings between the parties to try and mediate a resolution. This will be an opportunity to discuss the issue and aim to find an agreed solution to the problem for all concerned. If you are a student and have concerns about a member of staff, please use the student complaints procedure. We also have a Report and Support site where students can access support information as well as report any hate incidents either anonymously or to a Welfare Adviser.
York St John University and York St John University Students’ Union have signed a joint policy statement on sexual misconduct and domestic abuse, strengthening the University’s zero tolerance approach to incidents of this nature.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is when someone behaves in a way which makes you feel distressed, intimidated or offended and the behaviour is of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Sexual harassment is not okay and has no place in the University community. If you have experienced sexual harassment, or other forms of sexual abuse or violence, now or in the past, please report it or seek support.
Building Healthy Relationships is a HEFCE funded project, carried out in partnership with York College, IDAS and Survive. The project aims to highlight the importance of healthy relationships, consent and respect through open dialogue within our student communities to strengthen prevention of sexual violence and harassment. We are developing resources and offer training to students and staff.
York is one of the safer student cities in the UK, but hate crime happens, as it does in all parts of the country. In rare cases, students and staff might meet people who use words or actions against them because they have (or are perceived to have) a particular identity.
A hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race; religion; sexual orientation; disability; or gender identity. It does not matter whether the victim actually belongs to the group at which the hostility is targeted. An act which is not an offence may be treated as a hate incident. Any allegation of hate crime is likely to invoke the disciplinary procedures. Incitement to racial hatred and incitement to religious hatred are criminal offences.
If you have experienced or witnessed a hate incident or crime, or you believe that someone is stirring up racial or religious hatred, please report it or seek support.
Watch the Hate Hurts video on YouTube
We offer a number of ways for our students and employees to access support, internally and externally. Please follow the links to find the right support for you.
For BAME student support email Emma Maslin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about this webpage, please email Marije Davidson, Equality and Diversity Adviser, at email@example.com.