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Policies and documents

Equality and diversity

We are dedicated to providing an inclusive, accessible and welcoming environment which supports a diverse and culturally rich community.

We have always been proud to stand up for social justice, and this spirit runs throughout our University Strategy 2026.

Our core value is to promote fairness and challenge prejudice. We aim to be at the forefront of eliminating inequalities in higher education. This will be reflected in the outcomes of our students. We have also set ambitious measures of success that hold us to account towards students and staff.

Our approach to equality and diversity

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.

Our strategic themes are to:

  • 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.

On 29 April 2021, the Board of Governors approved the refreshed Strategy 2026. The following key performance indicators have replaced the equality objectives:

  • Enable positive access, awarding and progression outcomes for all students in line with our Access and Participation Plan 2020-2025
  • Eliminate the gender pay gap (GPG) and ethnicity pay gap (2026 staging targets: 5% mean and median GPG, retain zero pay gap for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff)
  • Diverse student population of 10,000 including undergraduates, postgraduates (including research students) and degree apprentices.

Our Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy Statement sets out our 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.

Our University committees are requested to ensure that, in undertaking the business of the meeting, decisions taken are consistent with and reflect and promote the University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy.

Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy Statement (PDF, 0.1MB)

At York St John we are committed to speaker diversity in the events we organise. The Guide to Organising Diverse Events sets out our position and provides practical tips.

Guide to Organising Diverse Events (staff intranet)

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. Staff should conduct an EIA 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

We have a duty to publish information about the diversity of our university community and report on our progress in relation to meeting the public sector Equality Duty. 

We do this through an annual equality and diversity report to the Board of Governors and publishing diversity monitoring data on this website.

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2021 (PDF, 0.5MB)

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2020 (PDF, 0.2MB)

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2019 (PDF 0.4 MB) 

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2018 (PDF 0.1 MB)

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2017 (PDF, 0.1MB)

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2016 (PDF 169.1 kB)

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2015 (PDF, 754kB)

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:

  • Median gender pay gap
  • Mean gender pay gap
  • Quartile pay bands
  • Gender pay 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.

View the 2021 Gender Pay Gap report on our website (opens new page).

Gender Pay Gap Reports from 2017 until present can be viewed on the government's gender pay gap service.

We collect information about our students and staff that 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, ethnicity, religion and belief, sex/gender, sexuality 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 or through UCAS. We collect data from staff through the recruitment process and through an annual request to update your staff record.

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 equality of opportunity and outcome 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 Board of Governors and publish diversity monitoring 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, sex, 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. HESA cannot use the anonymised data in any way to identify individuals.

Find out about the university's Data Protection Policy.

Read how HESA processes equality data (external website).

If you don't want to give information

You do not have to give information (with some exceptions), 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 field. We will record this as ‘Unknown’, and exclude your record from analysis of these fields. 

Supporting a diverse community

We recognise that some students need specific support of guidance during their studies. Details can be found on the Support for our diverse community page.

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.

Access and participation plan 2020-21 to 2024-25 (PDF 0.8 MB)

As part of our commitment to develop and maintain an accessible, inclusive and fair working environment, we achieved the Athena SWAN Charter bronze award on International Women's Day 2022. The Athena Swan charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE)

In adopting the Athena Swan Charter, York St John University has developed an action plan to embed gender equality actions within our policies, practices, and culture. The action plan is ambitious and uses the Athena Swan Charter process as an important framework for change. This includes overt actions such as supporting women leadership programmes, as well as addressing hidden inequalities.

Athena SWAN submission (PDF, 2.1MB)

To find out more about the Athena SWAN Charter you can visit the Advance HE web pages.

We are a Disability Confident Employer and a MINDFUL EMPLOYER. We are committed to improving policies and practices for disabled staff, including people living with mental ill-health.

Levelling up: we take positive steps to ensure that disabled people can compete for employment opportunities on a level playing field and have the support they need to develop and perform well in their jobs. Examples of adjustments include alterations to working hours, adjustments to premises and the acquisition or modification of equipment.

Guaranteed interview: as a Disability Confident employer we guarantee an interview to any candidates who declare in their application that they have a disability and meet the minimum criteria for the role. The recruitment officer will only disclose your disability to the Chair of the panel if you have not been shortlisted, or if you require a reasonable adjustment.

Disabled applicants are invited to discuss their application or request assistance at any point during the recruitment process. Please contact

Disability leave: the University provides up to one week (of normal contracted hours) leave per annum, as may be required for particular purposes such as assessment and/or treatment in relation to the disability, or servicing of necessary equipment or other aids. It is not intended for disability-related sick leave. Disability leave applies to staff who have disclosed a disability, and where the time off work is verified by a medical or occupational health report or an appointment letter.

Campus Accessibility: we have worked with AccessAble to create Access Guides for York St John University.

AccessAble guides

Disability Staff Network: our network is open to anyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions, or who wish to be an ally.

Disability Staff Network

Resources to report ableist harassment and access support:

Dignity and Respect

On 1 August 2020, York St John University officially committed to the five guiding principles of the Race Equality Charter.

The Race Equality Charter provides a recognised framework for institutions to identify and self-reflect on institutional and systemic barriers standing in the way of minority ethnic staff and students, so that they can take action.

Membership of the Charter will generate space for students and staff to embed race equality, to challenge and improve discriminatory policies and practices, and to contribute transformative solutions. A self-assessment team will lead on the application for a bronze award.

Alongside the REC work we are also engaging with other activities to address racial inequalities, including decolonising the curriculum.

This work will help York St John University offer a welcoming and inclusive environment for a culturally rich and diverse community and increase the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students.

Information about our work on the Race Equality Charter:

Towards Race Equality

An institutional resource to inform, help and advocate anti-racism activities:

How to be an anti-racist

Open to any member of staff or postgraduate researcher who identifies as someone with a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background (intranet):

BAME Staff Network

Resources to report racism and access support:

Dignity and Respect


We welcome people of all religions or none. Our chapel is an open, inclusive space in which you can pray, meditate, socialise over a cup of tea, or escape from the bustle of university life. We also offer a Muslim Prayer Room, wudu, and a Contemplation Room. The University Chaplain, who is an Anglican Priest, as well as a voluntary team of Faith Advisors from all faith traditions are available to talk to without judgment whatever your age, race, sexuality or gender. Throughout the year we celebrate and highlight significant dates in the faith calendar.

We follow the Christian calendar and we encourage students and staff of other religions to inform us at the earliest possible opportunity of worship-related needs so that we can accommodate these as far as reasonably practicable when timetabling classes and exams.

Our caterers offer a range of food that meet most religious requirements including halal food. Information about whether food contains sulphites is included on our menus which are displayed in the servery area. If you are unsure please ask our front of house team who are briefed before each service on specific items.

Religion and spirituality at York St John

Resources to report anti-religious hate and access support:

Dignity and Respect

York St John University has been named one of the most inclusive organisations in Britain by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall. As one of the very few UK universities in its Top 20 Trans Employers list for 2020, the University has also been in the Top 100 Employers list five times.

Read more in the press release from 30 January 2020.

Stonewall did not run the Workplace Equality Index in 2020. We have not participated in the Workplace Equality Index in 2021 or 2022 as we have been prioritising work on the Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters. However we are considering how best to submit in the future.

LGBT+ Staff Network: open to member of staff, postgraduate researcher or mature student who identifies as LGBT or who wants to be an ally. Employees of on-site suppliers are also welcome to join.

Supporting LGBT+ staff (intranet)

LGBT staff network blog

Resources to report homo-,bi- and transphobia and access support:

Dignity and Respect

We are committed to providing a trans-inclusive environment and supporting trans people, including those who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, and so on. 

Our Trans Inclusive Framework is designed to support staff and students to ensure our community is as trans-inclusive as possible.

Access the Trans Inclusive Framework

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