Race Equality Task Force Consultation: Michaelmas term 2021

About the consultation

The Race Equality Task Force has outlined a set of recommendations and proposed measures that aim to:

  • address racial inequalities among staff and barriers for students racialised as Black or Minority Ethnic (BME)
  • ensure the Oxford educational experience draws on the contributions of diverse societies and cultures
  • reinforce the University’s position as a centre for research that is informed by and informs latest research
  • accelerate progress towards making Oxford an institution which is, and which is perceived to be, racially diverse and welcoming to the widest range of people and perspectives.

All staff and students are invited to provide feedback on the proposals, and the Task Force will consider the response to the consultation in Hilary term.

Based on this input, the Task Force will develop a final University-wide strategy and funded business plan for approval by Council at the end of the 2021/22 academic year. Its outputs will also feed into the University’s next Race Equality Charter submission in 2022.

How to contribute

All current staff (both University and college) and students are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposals.

The consultation materials can be found below.

Once you have read the materials, you can take part in the online consultation via this online form.

Through the form, you will be asked a series of questions about your views on the proposals and will have the opportunity to share your feedback.

You can either give your views on the overall priorities (which only takes a few minutes); or complete the full survey to provide more detailed input.

All responses are anonymous and confidential.

The deadline for responses is 5pm on Wednesday 1 December 2021.

Contribute now

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Consultation materials

We recommend reading the consultation materials below before completing the form. To keep the materials brief, each section below includes a link to a more discursive PDF that provides the fuller context and background information for these proposals.

If you prefer, you can download the full consultation document as a PDF.

Expand All

This builds on the work already in progress across the University and in particular on the action plan of the Race Equality Charter. We need to ensure that we have and use robust information and governance to identify and accelerate change in areas that are currently progressing too slowly and we are properly prepared for the next Charter submission in July 2022 and are delivering effectively on our aims.

This is consultation is asking for your views on how we achieve these aims. It sets out what has been achieved so far, how the Task Force has worked and the evidence it has drawn on to support these recommendations.

The interventions described here build on foundations of previous activities, but we hope this focus and investment will allow us to seize this moment, ensuring we put in place governance mechanisms, more robust systems for gathering and using information and more coherent support and resourcing to significantly accelerate progress towards racial equality.

Our aim is to publish a detailed strategy agreed by the end of Trinity term.

The University of Oxford is a high-profile local, national and global institution, whose voice counts. It has visibility, power, and responsibility. It prides itself on its reputation for excellence in research and education. It is important that we challenge ourselves to understand and act on the principles of equity and inclusion, and that we are seen to do so.

The Equality Act of 2010, in consolidating race equality law, provides a legal framework and a great deal of hard work has been undertaken by many staff and students over the past two decades to identify, challenge and remove discrimination and prejudice. Change has happened, but has not always been sufficiently swift, nor obvious – nor has it been sustained or systematic, nor built into the mainstream of University governance arrangements. Cultural transformation is usually a gradual process, but it can be galvanised by the social response to particular historical incidents. World-wide outrage at the brutal murder of George Floyd and its aftermath in 2020 was one such. It brought many of us to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions about our actions against racism and racialisation. In her Oration in October 2020, the Vice-Chancellor affirmed her own personal and professional commitment to the cause of racial equity and to making the University as world leading in its approach to diversity and inclusivity as in its other strategic goals. The Vice-Chancellor convened the Race Equality Task Force (RETF) to engage, to listen, to share ideas and to make specific recommendations for substantive change. 

The membership of the Task Force is broad, and it has been tasked to consult widely, within and beyond the University. It has worked intensively for nine months, and in the process has had some clear views expressed by both internal staff and students as well as external consultants which have led to a set of principles which reflect the importance of:

  • leadership from the top
  • working together as a collegiate University, rather than as a collection of separate entities, to underscore common overarching principles and values
  • integrating consideration of issues of race/racialisation into equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy and governance as a whole
  • being aware of our day-to-day behaviours and actions – our unconscious biases, our thoughtless behaviours, the language and forms of categorisations we use, often without proper reflection – and the power imbalances they imply and support; and finding ways to better address racial harassment, which is a feature of the working life of many of our BME colleagues 
  • recognising the multiple faces/roles of the University – as a leading global centre of research and teaching (with alumni across the world); as a leading voice in national higher education debates; as an important element of Oxford as a city and cultural entity, and a significant local employer – each face/role carries its own responsibilities, and represents simultaneously a challenge and an opportunity for Oxford
  • transparency, accountability and trust in the system – implying tighter and stronger audit structures , as well as capacity to inspire engagement and continue cultivating ongoing conversations about race equality.

These principles, taken together, constitute a commitment to encouraging the widest-possible degree of participation – hence this extensive consultation on our recommendations across the University.

Over the last decade, through the various strategies and action plans that have been delivered – some in support of the Race Equality Charter – there has been some change. While this change is visible and measurable in some areas, such as undergraduate access, in others, such as diversity of academic staff, the progress has been far too slow. In yet other areas, such as reporting of and effective action on racial harassment, processes have not been sufficiently transparent and responsive to gain trust and raise awareness of, and sufficient protection against, unacceptable behaviours. Both internal and external input to this process have identified key areas on which we need to focus and where we feel there should be interventions, together with a set of suggested measures to support those interventions. 

The actions that result from this consultation will inform the next submission of the Race Equality Charter in July 2022. Alongside that action plan there will be an evaluation and reporting schedule to allow review of effectiveness. The Task Force recommends that a similar group is convened in three years’ time to review progress and, if necessary, reprioritise actions.

Download a PDF with more detailed discussion and background information.

Note: In this report we use two related but different terms: Equality and Equity. Equality recognises that people should have the same opportunities to reach their potential and live enjoyable lives free from discrimination, and features in existing UK law, such as the Equality Act 2010. Equity emphasises that fairness cannot always be achieved by treating people the same; an equitable process takes account of individual needs to enable people to reach equal outcomes. It acknowledges that we are not all starting at a level playing field due to prior disadvantage or inbuilt imbalances of power.

In order to ensure a decisive initial stimulus to change, the Task Force has identified three enabling actions, shown below, which should be enacted immediately to build the foundation for subsequent initiatives.

For immediate action: Enabling Interventions

1: Create a full-time senior EDI Leadership role, reporting to VC and with an appropriate support team.

2: Create a Joint Committee of the University and Conference of Colleges to oversee shared governance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

3: Develop a University Communications Strategy that enables positive communications and engagement with race equality and increases conversations about race equality.

 

The Task Force has identified the following 11 priority actions and invites consultation response upon them.

Proposed Priority Interventions

Priority 1: Introduce systematic and creative approaches to diversifying staff recruitment and retention for all staff roles, including use of apprenticeships.

Priority 2: Work to embed diversity in the University’s governance and decision-making with agreed approaches to reporting and auditing.

Priority 3: Create a fund with significantly greater scope and ambition than the existing Diversity Fund to allow a programme of change in order to embed processes and provide support to improve culture and community, and student experiences. The fund will need to consist of various elements to support departments and staff and student networks, as well as funding additional support staff.

Priority 4: Develop a systematic approach to collegiate University data collection and reporting on staff ethnicity and mechanisms for using the data to measure and inform progress towards achieving racial equality objectives; complete a census-like campaign to improve existing data.

Priority 5: Put in place support and tools to allow effective prevention, reporting and handling of harassment and discrimination.

Priority 6: Introduce a programme of training and awareness activities that go beyond online training, and include allyship, building on the effective LGBTQ+ ally scheme; shape effective anti-racist approaches to ensure staff and students continuously learn and better understand microaggressions, stereotypes and how they can actively engage in anti-racist practice.

Priority 7: Invest in a coordinated research network, creating a cohort of Associate Professors appointed to bring dynamism and credibility to Oxford’s work in the area of race research.

Priority 8: Implement a funded programme of inclusive teaching, curriculum diversification and decolonising activities in departments, divisions and the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Priority 9: Deliver an ambitious strategy to diversify graduate student intake, encompassing recruitment and outreach, selection processes and targeted bursary support.

Priority 10: Put in place a mechanism to allow thoughtful, meaningful, coordinated and sustained engagement with the diverse community that makes up Oxford’s city and region.

Priority 11: Develop a forward-looking strategy to create a welcoming and inclusive visual and built environment, which reflects our growing diversity.

We need to hear from you if we have got these priority areas right, or if there are others on which we should focus. Each of the areas will have more detailed action and implementation plans. Some of the actions will require us to make substantial changes to the way we work, or significant financial investment that will require prioritisation of resources against other University activities. The list set out in this document is not exhaustive, and we hope that this consultation will contribute to developing and improving our final programme, revising and reprioritising as appropriate.

Staff diversity enhances every aspect of University life: embodying the multiple faces/roles of the University, increasing intellectual breadth and creativity in teaching and research, attracting a diverse student body, and reflecting the demographics of the local population. 

What we have learned and future focus

Evidence gathered by the Task Force shows the following.

  • While in the last five years some staff roles have increased in diversity, academic roles have not and staff racialised as BME are underrepresented in almost all employment categories and many levels of governance.
  • It is important to embed EDI into all recruitment, and to recognise EDI work in all reward and recognition processes.
  • The role of senior staff in mentoring, sponsoring and allyship is critical to the career development of junior BME staff. 
  • There is a need for more granular data on recruitment and progression to provide a better evidence base regarding the diversity of applicant pools and success rates of applicants, and how successful applicants then grow within the organisation.
  • National Equality Charters, such as Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter, provide an important framework for spearheading institutional debate and policy change which are more robust for being externally benchmarked. The focus on gender equality in the University over the last decade has had measurable and recognisable impact.
  • In focus groups and individual interviews, staff spoke of a lack of trust in the mechanisms for reporting and action on harassment, and the lack of signposts to information, networks and existing support when they arrived in Oxford.

We recommend that the University develops a more robust and coordinated approach to staff diversity, encompassing recruitment, progression and retention. 

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about staff diversity.

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

Increase the overall number of staff racialised as Black and Minority Ethnic (at all levels, but particularly higher-grade), with a focus on permanent contracts

1.1

Develop and implement a comprehensive inclusive recruitment strategy to underpin the University's BME staff target, including adoption of the DORA principles[1] and the tools and methodology developed by the ongoing Associate Professor Inclusion Recruitment Project to guide the selection process in academic recruitment

Medium

Low

Medium

1.2

Create a centrally funded pool of trained EDI observers to provide support to recruitment panels when requested

Medium

Medium

Medium

1.3

Incorporate ’good citizenship’ and/or commitment to EDI work as essential criteria for applicants and in all reward and recognition processes

Low

Low

Medium

1.4

Encourage applicants of diverse ethnicities to apply for Visiting Fellowships, Professorships and lecturerships – building on the model of Africa/Oxford and Oxford/India Initiative

Medium

Low

Medium

1.5

Encourage recruitment of local professional and support staff by developing better outreach campaigns and use of talent management agencies

Low

Low

Medium

Establish a ‘talent pipeline’ and help to reduce the reported feelings of alienation and isolation, by implementing more robust and consistent inductions throughout the University and provide opportunities for BME staff progression – in particular, implementing new initiatives aimed at supporting junior BME staff, and providing clearer guidance on promotions

1.6

Investigate practices for enabling progression and retention, such as sponsorships (where a more senior colleague ‘sponsors’ a newer staff member and advocates on their behalf), job-shadowing of senior staff, and active allyship.

Low

Low

Medium

1.7

Build on the recently agreed University Apprenticeship Strategy to develop a scheme to encourage senior apprenticeships and secondments across the collegiate University (available to current members of staff), and to increase BME apprenticeships

Low

Medium

Medium

1.8

Revive, better resource, and expand the Equality and Diversity Unit (EDU)’s Pivot mentoring scheme (or equivalent) for staff racialised as Black and Minority Ethnic. Create a bigger campaign about this opportunity, making this a centre-piece initiative, and include lower-graded staff (6 and below) within the scheme

Low

Low

Medium

1.9

Provide effective training for line managers on PDRs to increase their effectiveness in career progression

Medium

Medium

High

1.10

Introduce more transparency and clarity around discretionary pay ranges

Low

Low

Low

In light of the greater potential for housing discrimination faced by staff racialised as Black and Minority Ethnic, the University must ensure that staff are appropriately supported to find affordable housing in Oxford

1.11

Housing discrimination is problematic, particularly for international staff racialised as Black and Minority Ethnic who may be unfamiliar with UK practices and may face accent discrimination. Provide a housing liaison officer to support and lend advice on behalf of staff experiencing housing problems, and potentially a ‘trusted landlords’ database for renters as well

Medium

Low

Medium

 

[1] The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognises the need to improve the ways in which researchers and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated. The University has signed up to DORA.

 

Further increasing the diversity of our student body will make Oxford a stronger, more intellectually interesting community.

The challenges of student diversity  go beyond our  recent  predominant focus on admissions and outreach. We must offer students  fair opportunities to participate in the life of the University, support – academic, financial and social – to thrive while they are here, a curriculum  that draws on global scholarship and addresses issues of ‘race’ and colonialism where appropriate, and support to progress to employment or further study. 

What we have learned and future focus 

The Task Force has examined the extensive quantitative data on student recruitment, outcomes and progression, and qualitative data on student experience from surveys, as well as commissioning a series of focus groups. This has highlighted the following:

  • Undergraduate recruitment has become much more diverse in recent years. Further progress is needed, particularly with regard to students of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage, and we support the plans to address this through a new outreach programme being developed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
  • Progress in postgraduate recruitment is lagging behind the undergraduate position and needs greater University focus. The Black Academic Futures initiative is welcome, but it is clear that a far larger programme of targeted funding and mentoring is needed to address graduate diversity.
  • The University has persistent degree-awarding gaps between students racialised as white and students of colour. At undergraduate level the proportion of BME students awarded a First is about 7% lower than white students, while at PGT level the gap in Distinctions is around 12%. These headline figures mask significant differences between ethnicities and across subjects.
  • While student satisfaction rates (as measured by the Student Barometer) are consistently high, they are lower for students racialised as Asian than for other ethnicities.
  • Analysis by the Careers Service shows no gap between white students and students of colour in career destinations or salaries 15 months after graduation.
  • In focus groups, students highlighted the impact of racism and microaggressions, and commented on the lack of cultural awareness of some staff and the inadequacy of reporting and complaint procedures.
  • Students also highlighted that the University needs to move beyond thinking of race equality in terms of numerical diversity and focus more on providing stronger representation and a sense of belonging for students of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
  • Student societies play an important role for under-represented groups. Students who are a minority in their colleges look to societies such as the African & Caribbean Society and the Islamic Society for support, and as a social hub. We wish to see support for these societies strengthened.

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about student diversity and experience

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

Set an ambitious strategy to diversify graduate student intake, encompassing recruitment and outreach, selection processes and targeted bursary support

 

2.1

Increase funding for Black Academic Futures and  other scholarships for under-represented students of colour on an annual basis 

Medium

High

High

 

2.2

Engage proactively with a forthcoming project on access and participation for Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in postgraduate  research

Medium

Low

High

 

2.3

Implement regular review of target-setting for graduate access 

Low

Low

Medium

 

2.4

Sustain a graduate access online platform to provide resources for those involved in graduate recruitment 

Medium

Medium

Medium

 

2.5

Provide further support and signposting to international students following admission 

Low

Low

Medium

 

Develop a central funding mechanism to support inclusive teaching, curriculum diversification and decolonising activities in departments, divisions and the Centre for Teaching and Learning 

 

2.6

Rolling programme of funding to divisions/departments to enable them to develop teaching materials for their specific subject areas, eg through buyout of staff time 

Medium

High

High

 

2.7

Facilitate student involvement in curriculum development, eg through paid vacation internships or by permitting short suspensions of DPhil studies  

Medium

Low

Medium

 

Improve social and wellbeing facilities for students of colour, recognising the important role played by student societies for under-represented groups

 

2.8

Provide core funding for student societies of under-represented groups – eg African & Caribbean Society, Islamic Society ­ based on size of membership and central aims. In particular, focus on those societies that provide key services to the University in terms of promoting access to under-represented groups

Medium

High

High

 

2.9

Offer opportunities for larger grants for such societies to organise events or other initiatives where not possible with core funding 

Low

Medium

Medium

 

2.10

Provide appropriate physical and virtual spaces for student societies, groups and campaigns to meet and operate. (Identify physical spaces within colleges, departments and divisions or University Club, and facilitate easy access by societies on a rotating basis) 

Medium

High

Medium

 

2.11

Building on progress already made, ensure students of colour can access a range of counsellors of colour

Low

Medium

Medium

 

2.12

Encourage colleges to offer areas of all-female accommodation, to respect the cultural and religious preferences of some under-represented groups

Low

Low

Medium

 

Develop more systematic reward and recognition routes for students who contribute to University outreach and EDI activities

 

2.13

Pay students who are representing, or working for, the University in an official capacity (at least the Oxford Living Wage): eg open days, access and outreach events, committee work, EDI work  

Low

Low

Low

 

2.14

Explore greater recognition of EDI/community work undertaken during degree programmes (eg reporting them in degree transcripts, although not credit bearing)

Medium

Low

Low

 

2.15

Allow paid short-term suspension to DPhil programme, to enable DPhil students to engage fully and appropriately in race-equality-related EDI work (and EDI work in general)

Medium

Low

Low

 

 

The actions suggested in this theme support the development of Culture and Community (see section 5 below), but were felt to be sufficiently significant to have a separate theme.  

What we have learned and future focus

The findings of the group suggest that racial harassment is happening throughout the collegiate University, although often not officially reported, with microaggressions being the most commonly cited type of racial harassment among staff and students; this points to a lack of cultural awareness by some staff and students.   

The interviews, focus groups and general input from staff and students formed a picture of at times explicit and many times implicit bias. The staff survey supports this finding too, in that 16% of staff members who declare as Black report having experienced bullying and harassment this year, while the response is 9% for those declaring as white. Staff and students also expressed a lack of trust in the existing processes for dealing with harassment which leads to significant underreporting.

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about dealing with racial harassment.

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

Create an harassment-free culture

3.1

Develop and implement a strategy to raise awareness and reduce the incidence of microaggressions or subtle forms of discrimination, which might include, for example, encouraging individuals to educate themselves on the experiences of others and empowering everyone to become active bystanders when they witness harassment or abuse  

Low

Low

High

3.2

Develop a comprehensive training strategy to include (i) what constitutes harassment and victimisation and what to do if someone experiences or witnesses it; and (ii) targeted materials for those in leadership, management and supervisory positions to ensure they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, know how to handle complaints, and understand specific forms of harassment (eg racial harassment)

Medium

Medium

High

3.3

Deliver a University-wide campaign for zero tolerance of racial harassment and bullying led by the University’s Senior Management

High

Low

High

Fund a programme to improve reporting and accountability

3.4

Develop an enhanced approach and toolkit to encourage and support early intervention and greater use of informal resolution, including supporting departments to reduce harassment

Medium

Medium

High

3.5

Put in place a robust process for record-keeping and reporting to stakeholders held accountable for dealing with racial harassment

Medium

Medium

High

3.6

Develop training and briefing sessions to ensure senior managers and decision-makers are regularly updated

Medium

Medium

High

3.7

Conduct further analysis of the perceived barriers to reporting harassment, using the data of the 2021 Staff Experience Survey to identify actions to encourage reporting and build trust in the procedures

Medium

Medium

High

3.8

Implement an online reporting tool to enable a more open and transparent way of reporting concerns

Medium

Medium

High

Put in place resources to improve capacity and capability of harassment support

3.9

Resource a full-time permanent harassment partner

Medium

Medium

High

3.10

Form a pool of trained independent investigators and advisors, including specialist investigators and advisors in areas such as racial harassment and homophobia

Medium

Medium

High

3.11

Develop innovative ways to communicate relevant policy and good practice effectively (including harassment procedures, support networks, social media guidelines etc)

Medium

Medium

High

3.12

Review and improve Harassment Advisor role – consider recruitment advice/guidance/directions, ongoing training, support networks etc

Medium

Medium

High

 

Within Oxford there have been significant intellectual developments and policy initiatives in postcolonial literature, area studies, tropical medicine, migration and diaspora across former parts of the British colonial world, and global and imperial history. Oxford also has major material collections in GLAM (Gardens, Libraries and Museums) related to the British Empire. Ongoing interrogation of and critical engagement with this legacy constitute a significant priority. There is scope here for the University to make an enhanced intellectual and social impact.

What we learned and future focus

Research on ‘race’ can be conceived in many ways: for example, as a global issue – as an aspect of global inequalities and development debates – as a medical issue of inequality of outcomes such as maternal health, linked to migration, asylum and refugee studies, as an aspect of legal research, as a way of assessing inequalities in education, and as a way of understanding human societies and their historical and spatial dynamics.

The majority of researchers we spoke to would be interested in becoming more actively engaged in seeing the connections between their research field and the impacts of racialisation. They were keen to find spaces in the University where this work might be disseminated and discussed openly. Many felt that the University was not doing enough in this area. Many also thought their own work would benefit from greater scope for interdisciplinary discussion, research on the subject of race potentially connecting to all divisions and GLAM.

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about research and impact.

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

4.1

Embed anti-racist and inclusive research practices in the University, working with the Researcher Hub to support all researchers to engage in inclusive research design

Low

Low

Medium

4.2

Put in place short-term measures to encourage greater networking and coordination of research on the subject of ‘race’ and racialisation in the University, including funded opportunities/a funding call for buy-out opportunities for researchers to enable them to contribute high-quality resources on race (for instance to support curriculum development, short working papers or pump-priming grants)

Low

Medium

High

4.3

Research applications, including the John Fell Fund, should record ethnicity data together with success rates to ensure effective and equitable support in developing research proposals.

Low

Low

Medium

4.4

Formulate a University-wide recruitment strategy to embed research on ‘race’ and racialisation through an ambitious plan to motivate departments to establish or re-formulate a number of Associate Professorships (through a process of competitive bidding for posts open to all divisions for research on ‘race’ and racialisation and its impact)

Low

Medium

High

4.5

Building on the network and short-term measures, develop the case for a centre of research that adds value to work currently happening across the University and improves its impact

High

High

High

The culture of an institution is founded on shared values and behaviours of the community and their demonstrable evidence – visual and measurable. The culture of an organisation might be judged by what it prioritises and rewards. In this sense, all sections of this document and the suggested measures in them will contribute to the culture and community of Oxford. In this section we focus on how we might support continual and sustained cultural change.

To foster a more inclusive collegiate University culture, we need to consider too the visual culture of the University and how we might build on the previous work of diversifying portraiture to create a visual culture and symbols necessary to build the stronger, more equitable future we envision.

What we have learned and future focus

Evidence from external institutions indicates that the success and trend in EDI interventions and embeddedness, especially changing the culture of the work environment, depends on institutions being proactive, highly visible in their actions, and supported by high-level strategic leadership. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion efforts at the University are often siloed, online training is often seen as tokenistic and box-ticking, and information and resources are not easily accessible. Some of these issues are dealt with by changes of governance, new structures and resources; these should support a change in culture, but more is required.

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about culture and community.

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

5.1

Introduce a programme of training and awareness activities that go beyond online training, and include allyship, using the expertise of specialist trainers and, where needed, external consultants to help shape effective anti-racist approaches and to ensure staff and students continuously learn and better understand microaggressions and stereotypes and how they can actively engage in anti-racist practices

Medium

Medium

High

5.2

Strengthen the capacity of the BME Staff Network (and other key advisory groups – LGBT+ Staff Network and Disabled Staff Network) by adopting a buyout model for some portion of time of the chair/co-chairs.

Low

Low

Medium

5.3

Recast and grow the Diversity Fund as a fund to support cultural change open to individuals as well as groups (faculties/departments/divisions/networks/societies) to propose projects and events which have potential to be scaled up and to have a genuinely transformational impact

Low

Medium

Medium

5.4

Create a local community engagement liaison officer or team to have thoughtful, meaningful, coordinated, thorough and sustained community engagement and talks with Oxford residents

Low

Medium

Medium

5.5

Commit to involving and co-creating research and engagement with community groups

Low

Low

Low

5.6

Engage with alumni to bring external knowledge into our actions and to act as potential mentors

Low

Low

Medium

5.7

Develop a strategy to create a welcoming and inclusive visual and built environment, which reflects our present

Medium

Low

High

5.8

Reach out to existing building projects to explore opportunities for advancing Task Force aims and having an updated visual representation of our modern, more racially diverse community

Low

Medium

Medium

 

University governance needs to enable and develop the ongoing process of critical awareness and mutual respect which is crucial for the health and integrity of our community. We focus here on identifying governance and support structures to promote effective implementation of the measures proposed throughout this report and the auditing of their success.

The University has had an Advocate for Equality and Diversity, a part-time advocacy role, since 2015. In its deliberations as to whether there should be a different governance and leadership structure put in place, the group determined that there was a need for a full-time high-level leadership role for EDI reporting to the Vice-Chancellor, who can work with Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the Registrar to embed EDI across University governance structures. That recommendation will be taken forward as one of the enabling actions.

What we have learned and future focus

The group considered the ways in which other institutions, both HEI and non-HEI, address EDI governance, which also provided appropriate comparisons of support structures. Alongside external comparisons the group consulted with existing networks, units and individuals within the University.

This has resulted in recommendations with combined goals of strengthening leadership at the top and systematising attention to and provision for EDI through Council and its committees, divisions and departments/faculties, while retaining the informal energies which are so important in driving reform and creating a sense of involvement in the institution. 

Accountability needs evidence, much of which will be in the form of data: the characteristics and self-identification of staff and students; levels and lived experience of diversity; incidence of and responses to harassment. The University collects some of the data required, but not all, and due to the fragmented nature of our data the big picture is not always clear. We need to approach the collection of data on ethnicity and other protected characteristics as a collegiate University where possible. Within the University, there are data gaps, both in terms of data collected and its granularity, that need to be corrected.

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about responsibility and accountability.

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

6.1

Create a high-level joint University and Conference of Colleges EDI Committee with broad representation, including external membership.

Low

Low

Medium

6.2

Tighten mechanisms of audit and risk, enhancing equality impact assessments and the sharing of best practice across the collegiate University. The VC and EDI lead should hold an annual open meeting to take account of EDI progress

Low

Low

High

6.3

Create equivalent divisional EDI roles –Associate Heads and Divisional EDI Officers should be at the same level, with equivalent remits

Low

Low

High

6.4

Ensure departments have a local focus on Race Equality and that EDI is a standing item on departmental/faculty management committee agendas

Medium

Low

Medium

6.5

Resource the central EDU provision appropriately to bring it in line with investment in other Russell Group universities

High

High

High

6.6

Put in place effective data collection and reporting with consideration of granularity of data and working across the collegiate University

Medium

Medium

Medium

6.7

Hold a census-like campaign in spring 2022 to encourage staff to update University records and to explain the importance of the data to support University decision-making and ensuring effective services and support for staff members

Low

Low

High

6.8

Utilise modern data sciences methods to allow more effective near-real-time reporting. (This is a recommendation that might be applied to all our data and ethnicity could be the pilot.)

High

Medium

High

Effective communication and meaningful engagement with staff and students across the institution are crucial to developing and sustaining an inclusive, anti-racist culture. Through the pandemic we have, as a collegiate University, proven our ability to devise and deliver an effective visual communications strategy.

What we have learned and future focus

While there has been progress made and race equality activities have increased, these efforts aren’t necessarily visible to members of the University, let alone the public. Even Task Force members were not fully aware of the breadth of our ongoing work.

The communications and engagement activities equally need to build (and rebuild) trust with all of our key stakeholders, and engage in a meaningful way with our staff and students racialised as Black or Ethnic Minority. As an educational and intellectual community, the University should help equip its members to fully engage in conversations around race and ethnicity.

Download a PDF with fuller context and background information about communication and engagement.

Recommendations and suggested measures

 

Time

Cost

Impact

7.1

Develop a University-wide anti-racism campaign with the aim of increasing conversations about race equality, and to enable staff and students to engage in open and honest communications that face problems head on and name them, while also celebrating the diversity that exists within the University, building trust and managing expectations around how quickly change can be achieved

Medium

Low

High

7.2

Include a significant, high-profile and respected figure/anti-racist activist to launch the University’s anti-racism campaign, offer charismatic leadership and stimulate fruitfully critical debate

Low

Low

Medium

7.3

Use communications channels (social media, website, internal communications) to highlight inclusion as a core University value and showcase existing race equality activities and initiatives across the collegiate University, drawing on work within departments, divisions, colleges and student groups to show its diverse student and staff community and raise awareness

Medium

Low

High

7.4

Provide guidance on language and terminology used in University communications regarding race equality. Ensure that University communications, race equality action plan and supporting strategy will avoid a deficit model approach, and instead be positively framed in terms of its efforts to address systemic barriers related to racial inequality

Medium

Low

Medium

7.5

Provide a clear link to EDU resources from the front page of the University website. This will easily direct staff, students (current and prospective) and external stakeholders to resources, policies, statistics, clubs, societies, networks, information, relevant contact information, etc – and to regularly profile/highlight BME staff

Low

Low

High

7.6

Support the systematic sharing of best practice across the collegiate University with respect to race equality

Medium

Low

High

7.7

Move to using the Progress flag instead of the Rainbow flag on materials, buildings, etc. (Flying the Rainbow flag is a powerful visual symbol of commitment to inclusion that is increasingly used throughout the collegiate University. It is important that we bring to the forefront Trans and people racialised as BME who have previously been marginalised within the LGBT+ community)

Low

Low

Medium

7.8

Provide regular communications from the VC and senior leadership about their values and commitments, especially in response to current debates related to race equality

Low

Low

Low

7.9

Invest in public discourse/engagement with issues such as the historic legacies of the institution, to highlight how Oxford in 2021 differs from historic perceptions and build on initiatives such as the Oxford and Colonialism website

Medium

Low

Low

The funding of this programme of change and its sustainability will need strategic investment over 3–5 years to create the step change we seek, and in some areas a continued increase in operational costs. While investment in this area is aimed at accelerating racial equity, because of the nature of the activities the impact will be felt by all.

It is difficult at this stage to put a figure on the costs of the programme and this will need detailed consideration in light of the consultation. As we develop our plans further we will need to consider where existing funds might be prioritised, how strategic funds might be applied, and opportunities for fundraising and attracting external funds to support our ambitions.

 

Time

Cost

Impact

8.1

Agree a governance structure for the administration of a diversity fund

Low

Low

Medium

8.2

Agree funding sources to establish and maintain an appropriate level of diversity funding to support sustainable change

Low

Low

High

8.3

Optimise the existing capital and revenue budgets to enable investment in programme of change

Medium

Low

High

Co-chairs

Patricia Daley, Professor of the Human Geography of Africa, School of Geography and the Environment

(Previously) Rebecca Surender, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and Vice Principal of Green Templeton College

Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, People and GLAM

Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education

Programme Team:

Daisy Hung, Task Force Programme Manager and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division

Dorian Singh, Task Force Data Mapping and Researcher and Oxford & Colonialism project co-chair

Tracy Fahey, Reward and Policy Officer, Central Human Resources

Task Force Members:

Ming Alsop-Lim, Campaign Officer, St Hilda’s College

Effie Armah-Tetteh, Oxford African & Caribbean Society

Keisha Asare, VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Oxford SU (since June 2021)

Doyin Atewologun, Dean of the Rhodes Scholarships

Lauren Bolz, former VP (Graduates), Oxford SU (to June 2021)

Lanisha Butterfield, Communications Manager – Education and Admissions, Public Affairs Directorate

Alice Chilver, Head of People and Organisational Development

Zeba Chowdhury, Oxford Islamic Society

Michelle Codrington-Rogers, teacher and NASUWT President

Daphne Cunningham, Experimental Research Group Administrator, Department of Engineering Science

Rachel Dearlove, Head of Taught Degrees and Student Casework, Education Policy Support

Devika, VP (Graduates), Oxford SU (since June 2021)

Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, Oxford City Councillor and Oxford City Council Migrant Champion

Jane Garnett, Humanities Division Equality and Diversity Academic Lead and Tutor in Modern History, Faculty of History

Robert Gilbert, Director of the Graduate School, Director of Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre and Professor of Biophysics, Nuffield Department of Medicine

Alexander Gordon, Research Facilitation, Mathematical Institute

Adrienne Hopkins, Head of Equality and Diversity Unit

Matt Jarvis, Associate Head (People), Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, and Professor of Astrophysics

David Johnson, Junior Proctor and Reader in Comparative and International Education, Department of Education

Yasmin Khan, Fellow and Senior Tutor, Kellogg College, and Associate Professor in British History, Department for Continuing Education

Patricia Kingori, Associate Professor in Global Health Ethics, Nuffield Department of Population Health

Nikita Ma, former President of Oxford SU (to June 2021)

Helen Mountfield QC, Principal, Mansfield College

Roger Nascimento, Postdoctoral Researcher, Nuffield Department of Medicine

Chimdinma Okpalauko, Vice President, Oxford African and Caribbean Society

Alexandra Ramadan, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics

Anthony Reddie, Director, Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture

Diego Sanchez-Ancochea, Head, Oxford Department of International Development

Sahba Shayani, Instructor in Persian, Oriental Institute, and Brasenose College

Stephen Tuck, Professor of Modern History, Faculty of History

Laura Van Broekhoven, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum

Julia Viebach, Departmental Lecturer, African Studies Centre, School of Global and Area Studies

Machilu Zimba, Policy Advisor (Race Equality, Religion and Belief), Equality and Diversity Unit

Working Group Contributors:

Rakiya Farah, Internal Communications Manager, Public Affairs Directorate

Sophie Herzberg, Senior Policy Officer, Education Policy Support

Caroline Kennedy, Equality and Harassment Administrator, Equality and Diversity Unit

Bettina Lange, Assessor and Associate Professor of Law and Regulation, Faculty of Law

Anne Makena, Programme Coordinator, Africa Oxford Initiative

Louise McRae, Senior Information Manager, Student Data Management and Analysis

Laura Nicosia, Team Administrator, Education Policy Support

Julia Paolitto, Head of Communications, Trinity College

Jonathan Prag, Professor of Ancient History, Faculty of Classics

Lucinda Rumsey, Supernumerary Fellow in English and Senior Tutor, Mansfield College

Alison Sealey, Clerk to the Proctors

Dan Selinger, Head of Communications – Students and Professional Services, Public Affairs Directorate

Carole Souter, Master, St Cross College

Amanda Tattersall, Senior Policy Officer, Education Policy Support

Jane Taylor, Educational Development Adviser (Inclusion), Centre for Learning and Teaching

Download a PDF outlining the methodology and evidence gathered by the Task Force.