Universities: Racial Discrimination

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to protect university staff from racial abuse.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Racial harassment is unacceptable, and we cannot tolerate staff and students being victims of it at our world-leading universities. There is no place in our society - including within higher education – for hatred or any form of harassment, discrimination or racism. Universities have clear responsibilities in this regard.

Higher education providers are independent and autonomous organisations. Like all employers, higher education providers have responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) in relation to their staff. We expect them discharge their responsibilities fully and have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address all hate crime.

We encourage providers to make use of tools such as the Race Equality Charter and the Race at Work Charter to identify and address institutional and cultural barriers that affect minority ethnic staff and students.

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers recognises the need to create and develop positive environments and cultures in which all researchers can flourish and achieve their full potential. This includes having effective policies and practice for tackling discrimination, bullying and harassment and providing appropriate support for those reporting issues.

By improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff within higher education we can ensure that everyone who has the potential to thrive at university, both as a student and as a member of staff, does so.

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