Black Lives Matter

Across our community, students, staff and alumni have been shocked and appalled by the killing of George Floyd. The University shares that horror and recognises the wave of social activism which has spread far beyond the United States.

Racism and discrimination are a scourge on our society, and we all have a shared responsibility not just to challenge such behaviour, but to deliver real and positive change.       

As an institution, we recognise there is more to be done in this space – in some cases, much more – and we are determined to ensure students and staff from all backgrounds have a full and positive experience on campus.

Below we have outlined some of the structural support already in place, work in progress and future activities.

Structural Support

We have a Race Equality Champion (Bonnie Dean, VP Corporate Engagement and Innovation), who Co-Chairs the Race Equality Group (REG) with Professor Satnam Virdee (Director of the Centre for Research on Racism, Ethnicity and Nationalism). The REG has been established for many years and has representation from the SRC, the Glasgow University Students of Colour Network, staff from each job family and relevant Professional Service areas. The REG reports to the Equality and Diversity Strategy Committee, chaired by the Principal.

The University set Equality Outcomes in 2017 in relation to Race Equality, progress was reported in 2019. We annually report staff data on ethnicity, and use this data to shape our strategy, and we reported on the ethnicity pay gap in 2017 and will do again in 2021, in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

In 2019 we launched the James McCune Smith scholarships which provides 3o undergraduate scholarships for UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students.

For students or staff who think they may be racial harassed or bullied, they can seek confidential support from the Respect Advisers, SRC Advice Centre (for students) and HR (for staff). Student can also report this through Report and Support, the online reporting tool.

Work in Progress

In response to the EHRC ReportTackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged, the University established a Project group to consider the recommendations and to research the local impact at our University. The group has met several times and considered a range of data and evidence, and we are currently in the process of conducting interviews with staff on their lived experience and have recently closed a student survey on the same topic.

The University of Glasgow was also the first UK university to recognise our role in the transatlantic slave trade and, in acknowledgment of what the University gained financially from that deeply immoral practice, a programme of restorative justice was agreed; including the joint funding of a research centre with colleagues from the University of West Indies.

We are reviewing a range of student data, including attainment to identify if we have any disparities based on all protected group; this has been motivated by the need to understand if we have an ethnicity attainment gap.

We had a planned ‘Decolonising the University’ symposium for late March to explore how we might reform and diversify the curriculum. However, this had to be cancelled due to lock down and will be re-arranged.

Future Activities

The University is keen to see the outcomes of the EHRC Project to help shape our current and future support for our BAME students and staff, however actions we already intend to take include:

  • To ensure known differential outcomes for BAME people in relation to COVID, are considered when planning our return to campus.
  • Establishing a BAME Student and Staff Forum/Network to directly hear the voices and experiences of BAME students and staff. This will have a direct link to the Race Equality Group.
  • Address any identified disparities within student attainment through the Learning and Teaching strategy.
  • Promote the informal and formal routes of support for recording incidents of harassment and bullying.
  • Review recruitment activities to ensure we are appealing to our local UK BAME population as a positive place to work.

The University is strongly committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and we will continue to work with all aspects of our community to embed these commitments in all aspects of University life. We recognise that as an institution we have benefited from discriminatory practices in the past, and we aim to address these through taking an anti-racist approach going forward.