From education to employment

Tougher Anti-Discrimination Enforcement For Universities & Colleges

USU believes progress to implement the Race Relations Amendment Act is unacceptably slow.

Members of the University College Union (UCU) have agreed to name and shame colleges and universities which fail to follow anti-discrimination law. The union also wants to see the worst offenders being served compliance notes from the Human Rights and Equality Commission, which will also see that they are prosecuted if they do not comply with the legislation.

The Race Relations Amendment Act (RRAA) places responsibility on listed public authorities to help eliminate unlawful racism and promote good relations between people of different racial groups. It also places a duty on them to promote equality and opportunity, but black and minority ethnic community members are continually under-represented in senior positions in colleges. Out of more than 300 colleges, only eight have a black Principal, and less than six per cent of senior and middle managers are black.

Specific duties enforced by the RRAA include the preparation of a written race equality policy, an assessment of how this policy impacts staff and students from different racial groups, and the publishing of the results of assessment and monitoring. However, monitoring conducted in 2006-7 by the former Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the UCU revealed that not one organisation in a sample of fifty colleges had managed to fulfill all these duties.

Sasha Callaghan, president-elect of UCU, said: “Non compliant colleges and universities are breaking the law every day. We have been patient on this until now but it is 18 months since the legislation was put on the statute book – long enough for institutions to act.”

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