UUK Publishes New Guidance on Tackling Racial Harassments in UK Higher Education

Universities UK (UUK) has published today, on November 24, 2020, the latest set of recommendations aiming to address and deal with racial harassment in the UK higher education institutions.

The advisory group assembled by the UUK in October 2019 came up with these recommendations, Erudera College News reports.

“The advisory group, chaired by Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia, was informed by experts in the field and carried out in-depth consultation with panels of exclusively Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and staff with lived experience of racial harassment,” the press release issued by the UUK reads.

The recommendations include several steps which can be implemented from all university leaders right away. These practical steps are:

  • publicly commit priority status on dealing with racial harassment
  • directly engage with students and staff who have experienced racial harassment
  • review the present procedures and policies and develop new institution-wide strategies for addressing racial harassment
  • improve the awareness on racism, racial harassment, white privilege and microaggressions among all students and staff members including anti-racist training
  • make sure expected behaviours for online behaviour are communicated to students and staff as well as punishments for violations
  • develop and present reporting systems for racial harassment incidents
  • gather data on reports of incidents as well as share it on a regular basis with senior staff and governing bodies

In addition, the guidance urged university leaders to recognize if there are issues in their institutions and if the UK higher education preserves institutional racism.

Among others, it suggests training for senior leaders and governing bodies in order to improve their awareness regarding specific concepts such as white privilege and allyship. The guidance also states that efforts on tackling racial harassment will be successful only if the whole university community is encouraged and committed for change.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and Chair of the Advisory Group, David Richardson stated that all university leaders should start following the guidance’s steps in order to see a meaningful change, claiming that many individuals, including staff and students, have failed due to racism.

“That needs to change now. These recommendations are designed to help university leaders put words into action and tackle racial harassment. By embracing and embedding an anti-racist approach, we can ensure that 2021 is the year we lead decisive and meaningful change, not just for our universities but for society as a whole,” he said.

Whereas, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London and President of Universities UK, Julia Buckingham said that more needs to be done to deal with racial harassment in higher education, thus urged the university leaders to read the guidance and implement its recommendations together with their activities.

Recently, UUK, the organization representing UK’s universities, has published Fair Admissions Review recommendations in a bid to increase transparency, trust and public understanding in university admission systems.

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