Staff and Student Update - Black Lives Matter

Staff and Student Update - Black Lives Matter

Dear Colleagues and Students,

As a University which strives to be open and welcoming, diverse and inclusive, we recognise that the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has prompted sadness, grief, outrage and anxiety in America and across the world.  Over the last two weeks we have seen demonstrations across the globe against systemic racism that sadly still exists in our society. 

We know that the shock and anger were no less felt across our University community. We wanted to reach out to you all to express the University and AUSA’s solidarity on these events and to offer support.

The University of Aberdeen will not tolerate racist or discriminatory behaviour against any minority group.

We encourage open discussion on race equality, and inclusivity of all minority groups. We urge anyone who has witnessed or experienced racist behaviour to speak out, and your channels for doing so can be found below.

As a society and as a University, we have much more to do to ensure racial equality. There have been times in our history when we as a University have fallen short. We are committed to continuing to support work to tackle racism across the sector, and we wanted to let you know that our University has:

  • Embedded Inclusion as a key strategic priority in Aberdeen 2040 and is developing a clear set of Key Performance Indicators in this area
  • Signed up to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education
  • Established an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee with representatives from staff and students discussing actions to promote race equality. The Committee has been analysing data in relation to the employment lifecycle of staff of all ethnicities with a view to developing recommendations
  • Convened a working group on Tackling Racial Harassment - co-chaired by Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya and Professor Ruth Taylor - to address the recommendations of the report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, entitled Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged
  • Begun consultations with staff on establishing a Race Equality Network.

We know there is much to be done still and this includes ensuring our curriculum is fully inclusive and also contributing to tackling the national attainment gap linked to race and ethnicity. Let us absolutely assure you that we will do this with energy, vision and determination.

Our resolve to celebrate diversity and strengthen our approach to inclusion remains fundamental.

We want to hear from our community of staff and students, as we as a University seek to better support staff and students from all backgrounds, to develop our curriculum and reflect on our role as an educator and how we can facilitate change for future generations. 

We are also here to support you. For anyone with points to raise or actions to suggest, please do so by contacting hr@abdn.ac.uk (for staff) or student.support@abdn.ac.uk (for students).  

Alternatively, you can also seek support from the AUSA Advice team by emailing ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk or the AUSA Black and Minority Ethnic Students Forum either at ausapresident@abdn.ac.uk or bme-forum@abdn.ac.uk.  

We will continue to take action where racism occurs.

Best wishes

George Boyne                                                          Cecilia Wallback

Professor George Boyne                                         Student President

Principal and Vice Chancellor                                 AUSA

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