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Equality and diversity

Towards race equality

Information about how we are aiming to improve diversity and achieve equality of experience at York St John University.

York St John University is committed to addressing inequalities, injustices and challenges facing society today.

Achieving race equality is central to our social justice mission. We know that race inequality is a problem across the higher education sector.

Our data and evidence reveal uneasy truths about differentials in experiences and outcomes that affect our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and staff which demonstrate why it is so important that we act now.

At York St John our goal is to become a more diverse and anti-racist university and that is why we are working towards a Race Equality Charter bronze status. Achieving a bronze award is not a tick box exercise - it is about us working together as a university community and taking active steps to make real change.

Alongside the REC work we are also engaging with activities already taking place that focus on social justice, including decolonising the curriculum. You can read more about these activities on our anti-racism page.

Our collective responsibility

We’ve started an important movement towards achieving race equality by applying for a Race Equality Charter bronze award.

Read more about our work in the drop-down menu below.

Working towards race equality is everyone’s responsibility and we invite you to take part in activities facilitated by the Race Equality Charter team.

We will be discussing our work so far and your views on actions that will lead to meaningful and sustainable change.

Future initiatives will be advertised in YSJ Daily and on the YSJ app. Join the movement to make YSJ a more diverse and anti-racist university!

Cíntia Silva Huxter, REC Officer, is the first point of contact students and staff.

Our anti-racist future

York St John University is committed to nurturing the talent of students and staff of all identities and backgrounds by providing the best support, learning experience and working environment for our whole University community. The Race Equality Charter process will help us to deliver this. It is an important part of wider activities designed to enhance Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and will help us move our anti-racist agenda forward in a way that promotes social justice in line with our university mission.

Our work so far

We joined the Race Equality Charter (REC) in August 2020, following a recommendation from the YSJ race equality taskforce. The REC provides universities with a framework to remove institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students. To gain bronze we have to commit to a 5 year action plan.

We established a self-assessment team (SAT), co-chaired by Dr Ernestine Gheyoh Ndzi and Professor Richard Bourne. The team includes students and staff who have been actively examining data and evidence about our diversity, the degree awards and graduate outcomes of students, and the progression and recognition of staff. We are now considering how the University should respond to the data and evidence, in a way that will lead to meaningful and sustainable change for the benefit of our whole University community.

In 2021, we asked staff and students to share their experiences and issues by taking part in the Advance HE Race Equality survey.

A number of themes emerged from the survey data, including strong support for race equality action and a high level of engagement and suggestions for change from those who responded. There was an indication that as well as support for diversifying the YSJ community, more focus is needed on improving equality of experience.

See the key findings of the survey results.

Thank you to everyone who took part.

As part of our work towards submission, we want to involve as wide a range of students as possible. We want to ensure that our actions reflect the needs and priorities of our student community.

A team of four Race Equality Student Ambassadors have been planning and running a range of activities including social events, focus groups and social media campaigns with the aim of creating networks for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students. They’re also gathering feedback about experiences at York St John and finding out what changes students would like to see on campus.

Students will see updates about all our activities on the YSJ app, and can contact SuccessandEngagement@yorksj.ac.uk with any questions or to find out more.

Throughout the first months of 2022, we invited Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and staff to share their views and experiences with Heena Mistry, Diversity and Inclusion specialist external to YSJ. Heena ran a series of focus groups and individual chats. We will share the common themes coming out of those conversations.

Our town hall meetings provide a space for colleagues to share views and ideas on how to make YSJ a more diverse and anti-racist university. These ideas will feed into our action planning.

In November 2021 the co-chairs provided information about the Race Equality Charter and the work of the SAT, and we heard about concerns colleagues have and what steps the University should take to address these.

In March 2022 Dr Amanda Wilcox, PVC Governance and Student Life, provided a short update about specific actions taken by the University to promote race equality. Participants also discussed the following questions:

  • How should the University enable and support reporting of race-related incidents at YSJ?
  • What would make you feel part of an anti-racist university?
  • How can YSJ create spaces for difficult conversations?
  • How can we identify and create change across the university?

The Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff network has representatives on the SAT, and meets regularly to discuss the University's work on race equality. In April the network will meet with the Executive Board. If you would like to be part of this network, please email Aminu Usman, Chair of the BAME staff network.

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