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The University of Southampton

A joint statement on Race and Equality

Published: 5 June 2020

Professor Mark Spearing, the University’s Executive Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Gwen Gordon, Chair of Shine, the staff network for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff, have made the following joint statement, adding to the sentiments expressed by our Vice-Chancellor.

It is fair to say that 2020 is proving to be a year without a match – a combination of global events bringing into focus deep-rooted injustice and inequality that has developed over centuries, not just globally but nationally too.

The brutal racist killing of George Floyd and the reactions worldwide make NOW the time for us to make a step change in our focus on race equality in our University community.

We need to explore the experiences of our BAME staff and students, to consider what we are already actively doing about race equality and define what we will be doing proactively ahead. We acknowledge that we have a lot of work that we collectively need to do to ensure that everyone in our university community feels safe and included.

Our commitment to the Race Equality Charter (REC) is a start and there is a group of committed colleagues who drive this work forward. This charter can only be one part of our approach to addressing the real issues.

There are societal and systemic barriers and deep-rooted behaviours that have kept racism in place for centuries. Our responsibility is to look at all aspects of our institution so we can identify and confront those barriers and behaviours where they exist.

The University has recently renewed our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion structures. We are now closely collaborating with colleagues and students who have lived through experiences of racism and with colleagues who bring academic or professional expertise and responsibilities in this area.

We are under no illusion about the scale of the work we need to do. It will be a long and at times, we are sure, a difficult journey. We are committed to taking this journey as we want to create a University community where we all feel included, safe and valued.

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