Sent: 05 June 2020 21:56
To: EnglishHoD, Resource <email@example.com>
Subject: Black Lives Matter
I am writing to you today about the horrific events of the last couple of weeks, which I know are dominating all of our thoughts at the moment. Like you, myself and colleagues in our department are shocked and outraged by the killing of George Floyd in the US and the violent and brutal responses to peaceful protest and the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand with protestors both in the US and the UK against all forms of racism and anti-black violence. We recognise how profoundly disturbing and shocking these events are for all our community, but especially our BME students and staff who are already disproportionately confronted by the COVID-19 outbreak and its representation in the news and social media.
At the beginning of the week, I directly raised this matter at the Faculty of Arts Heads of Departments Forum. English and Comparative Literary Studies encourages all students into open dialogue with each other and staff in the safe space of the classroom and the department, whether in person or online. We understand that such pronouncements need to be matched by action: we are committed to both establishing a structure for us to decolonise the curriculum and also to attracting more BME students and staff into the department. Many colleagues are actively involved in the wider BLM movement across the UK, and we want to continue our conversation with you and other departments about how we can make a real difference together.
We encourage all of our community to remain in dialogue with each other, both about how current events might be affecting us personally, but also about how we collectively might take pragmatic steps towards a more just and anti-racist society. No one should suffer in silence. The department does not accept racism in any form, conscious or unconscious. We will continue to work with you to imagine a diverse future through our commitment to public education.
I would also like to share with you a message from the University’s Director of Social Inclusion, Kulbir Shergill, which outlines the University’s broader actions to address racial equality.
Professor Emma Mason | Head of Department | English and Comparative Literary Studies | University of Warwick | firstname.lastname@example.org | @whypoets
From: SocialInclusionPA, Resource <email@example.com>
Sent: 05 June 2020 18:16
To: [staff list]
Subject: Black Lives Matter
In the light of the extremely distressing events (and all those that have gone before) it is very understandable that students and staff will be asking questions about the actions that Warwick is taking to address racial equality.
A number of forums and teams have been working on issues of inclusion and race equality and anti-racism across the University. The following is a summary of some of the key activities which we hope you will be able to share with your students and colleagues to provide some reassurance that this is an issue that we take extremely seriously and want to ensure that our students and staff feel safe.
Warwick’s Social Inclusion strategy highlights the need for anti-racism work as a priority and we have set targets to reduce the attainment gap but also to increase the numbers of BAME academics and professional services staff. In our objective to develop an inclusive culture, where racism is not tolerated and an anti-racism approach is supported we are embedding training and other tools into the student and staff life cycles through our values and principles work (https://warwick.ac.uk/about/values). We are also supporting the work of the Race Equality Taskforce (https://warwick.ac.uk/services/equalops/learnmore/taskforces/raceequalitytaskforce), which brings together academics, professional staff and SU representatives to identify key issues and effective responses. Our academics are also engaged in developing resources through forums such as the Anti-racist pedagogy learning circle. We have recently funded their staff development anti-racist programme which will be made available across the University. We are also working in partnership with students to fund and develop the decolonising curriculum project.
Through our Widening Participation programme (https://warwick.ac.uk/about/strategy/education/detail/facilitators/wp), which focusses on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds we are reaching out to young Black children to support and encourage participation in higher education, and provide support to students once they are with us.
We are also keen to learn from external practice and ensure that we are benchmarking with others, to help us to do this we have made a commitment to make a submission for the Race Equality Charter and also signed up for the Business in the Community Race Equality Charter Mark.
In addition we are working with senior leaders to create spaces for conversations about race and other equality issues. We intend to follow these up with workshops helping to put conversations into action as well initiate projects such as reverse mentoring.
For further information about our work on equality and diversity https://warwick.ac.uk/services/equalops.
Please do share with others our well-being services that are there to support everyone (https://warwick.ac.uk/services/wss).
I hope this information is helpful, I would be very happy to talk to you if you would like more details.
With kind regards,
University House | Coventry | CV4 8UW
Click here for a joint statement by the Race Equality Taskforce and University Executive Board
A number of literary associations and journals of which staff in the department are members have also issued public statements on BLM:
Centre of Social Studies in Coimbra (Professor Paulo de Medeiros)