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University of Bristol: Tackling racial harassment

University of Bristol

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into racial harassment in higher education has been published (23 October 2019). The report sets out to better understand the experiences of staff and students who have been subject to racial harassment and how effectively they can seek redress.

Commenting on the EHRC report, Professor Judith Squires (Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor) said: “There is no place for any racism, bullying or discrimination at the University of Bristol.

“I want our University to be a community where everyone feels safe, welcomed and respected, regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or social background.

“Together with the Students Union, we have been working actively with staff and students to ensure that our commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality is reflected in all aspects of our University.

“I encourage any student or staff member who experiences racist behaviour to report this and to seek support. Any complaints will be dealt with seriously and handled with sensitivity.

“We will be carefully reviewing the findings of the report, to further inform our understanding of racial harassment of staff and students, and its impact. We must ensure our students and staff can have confidence that they study, work and live in a safe and inclusive environment.”

Some of the key actions and steps taken by the University to support tackle racial harassment, improve our responses to these issues and to support staff and students include:

We signed the Race Equality pledge in April 2019.

We launched the online Report and Support tool for both staff and students in the 2018/19 academic year. The tool offers staff a quick and easy way to tell us about specific incidents. Staff and students can use the tool to report something anonymously or to be linked to someone to talk about what they’ve experienced.

As part of the Bristol Race Equality Strategic Leadership Group we were part of the first ever city-wide public sector employers’ data picture. We continue to share our data and work with representatives from each of these organisations to develop city-wide activity to address racial inequalities.

We are a member of the Bristol Race Manifesto Group.

Introducing Bystander at Work training for the promotion of inclusive workplaces, which will provide participants with the skills to intervene confidently and in ways that create lasting behavioural change.

We are part of the Stepping Up initiative, which is a positive action programme aimed at improving the representation of BAME people, as well as other groups, in senior leadership roles within Bristol and the wider region.

Training for student-facing staff includes Introduction to Race Equality training, and a programme of training in Cultural Awareness and Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Hate Crime Awareness for Wellbeing and Residential Life staff.

In the 18/19 academic year we launched the University of Bristol BME Success Programme – Be More Empowered (BME) for Success. The BME Success programme supports the experience and success of BAME students during their time at University. The programme employs a team of BME Success Advocates. These are students who work in partnership with other students and staff at the University to understand and address the challenges faced by BAME students, and to co-create and deliver a programme of events and activities which will generate discussion, reflect minority voices and foster an inclusive, high achieving community.

The full report is available to read on the EHRC website.

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