When everyone is included, everyone wins. Jesse Jackson
27th February 2019
Well LGBT History Month is drawing to a close. Our LGBT+ Student Society organised and ran a couple of events, with a particular focus marking 50 years since the Stonewall Riots. Last Saturday was “Can I come out Now!” held in the Regent Arcade, and yesterday was Time to Remember. This event was a partnership between the Society, one of the Equality team’s interns and the Chaplaincy Team. It was held for our staff and students in the faith space at FCH Campus, providing an opportunity for quiet reflection, simple prayers of lament and celebration.
We also had a successful celebration of the Chinese New Year. The International and BME part time officers, along with the SU and a colleague from our LTI, distributed blessings, gold coins (chocolate ones!) and red envelopes to students across all three campuses.
This has not been our only focus though. Like other organisations (public and private), we have been putting the finishing touches to our gender pay gap narrative, ahead of publishing in the government portal. We have also turned our attention to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), particularly the Code of Practice and equality impact assessments.
We are continuing to develop our reciprocal mentoring programme and have doubled the number of partners in this current academic year. Anecdotal feedback indicates it is going well. We have organised a mid-point review with all partners to get their views and recruit for next year’s cohort. We have adopted the “+1” approach that Claire Priestly shared at our Diversity and Inclusion Conference last year. We’ve asked our student partners to bring a friend or colleague that they think might like to participate in 2019/20. It has proved popular with our senior leaders, who are actively volunteering.
This programme is not only proving popular internally though. On the back of our presentation at the Advance HE Conference, a number of other institutions have been in touch to share our learning.
I’ve mentioned previously that we are focusing on making a personal connection between staff and students and equality, diversity and inclusion. Work has now started on capturing our student voice via videos. Colleagues in the Disability Services Team are pulling together their training materials into bite size pieces for 3-4 minute videos. These will be used as digital training resources for staff. Our disabled students are sharing their experiences of life at the university; their feelings when we create inclusive environments, including the curriculum, and their feelings when we perhaps don’t.
My colleague, Anna, and I are also experimenting with a podcast. It’s called “Talking Inclusion with Anna and Clare”. It’s another way to communicate, and hopefully engage colleagues, with the University’s equality, diversity and inclusion work. It’s proving a valuable outlet to hear our student voices. To date we have had chats with students about the LGBT+ Student Society, reciprocal mentoring and the diversity campaign, “March around the World”. You can listen to the first few episodes here.
Don’t forget you can also catch up with everything that’s going on via twitter @uogequality