Our commitment to anti-racism
Image credit: Johnny Silvercloud/flickr
The murder of George Floyd (and so many others) has affected all of us. We understand that some of you in our community have been particularly hurt by this. Racism is a systemic feature of our society, and this is not limited to what has been happening in the United States in the past few weeks and over the years.
Here in the School for Cross-faculty Studies, we are strongly against any type of racist activity and we commit to an anti-racist culture and education.
If you are struggling with the weight of current events, we are here to help and support you. In the Department, your personal tutor, our Directors of Student Experience, and our Head of School are here to listen and help you as well as we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us or join our Directors of Student Experience in the GSD virtual common room on Microsoft Teams (where they will be available 1-1:30 pm BST daily).
The University also offers support through the Wellbeing Support Services. You can contact the team through the Wellbeing Portal and request a brief consultation. They will then call you to discuss the support that you need, and what the next best steps might be. You can also access the counselling and psychology service after a brief consultation with a Wellbeing Advisor, if appropriate.
How can you help?
We know that you will be thinking about what you can do to help make a change. You might be interested in getting involved with the various Student’s Union societies that campaign against racism, including Speak out Warwick and the Warwick Anti-Racism Society. The Students' Union has also posted a recent news item which provides a powerful message for our whole community, and also a comprehensive section on supporting student wellbeing along with suggestions of the practical steps you can take individually to help affect change.
Our anti-racist approach
Anti-racist pedagogy is one of the key approaches for our Department. We are working to make sure that every module details how it engages with the Department's values around this.
It is about classroom activities, but it is also about student and staff recruitment, assessment strategies, and skills support. We work closely with the WIHEA Anti-Racist Pedagogy Learning Circle and last year we appointed Dr Kirsten Harris (Senior Teaching Fellow in Liberal Arts ) as Equity Officer for the School to help us focus on issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity.
We have also recently started working on our application for the Athena Swan Bronze award, which focuses on analysing and improving departmental processes around gender inequalities, as well as inequalities linked to other minority groups such as those linked to race.
The University has recently released a joint statement by the Race Equality Taskforce and University Executive Board, which details the ways Warwick is currently working towards institutional change.
In addition, we would like to highlight the University's stance on the recent allegations circulating on social media regarding a racist photograph. The allegations suggested that the photo involved individuals holding an offer to study at Warwick. This has been investigated and the University has confirmed that these individuals are not Warwick offer holders and have no link to the University.
(1/2) Social media commentators have made us aware of an offensive photograph. It was claimed that the individuals in the image are somehow connected to the University. After investigation, we can confirm that none of the individuals in the image are connected to Warwick,— University of Warwick (@warwickuni) May 31, 2020
(2/2) as was falsely alleged, nor would they be welcomed. Such behaviour goes against the University’s principles which emphasise treating others with respect.— University of Warwick (@warwickuni) May 31, 2020
In line with the University, we would not welcome into our School or tolerate the behaviour of those who consider it acceptable to be involved in and to post this type of highly insensitive content on social media.
What can we do better?
As you will understand, our improvement is a continuous process, so we will never stop and assume things are good enough. They are not good enough now, and they won't be good enough in the future. But it is something we care about and will always work on.
If you have any ideas of your own which will help us to continue to take steps forward, we encourage you to get in touch with us. If you are a current GSD student, please speak to one of your Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) representatives or fill out the SSLC contact form. If you are a member of staff, please let our School's Equity Officer, Dr Kirsten Harris, know your thoughts.
- The Organisational Development and ED&I team's ‘Anti-Racism Resource’
- A report of the Equality and Human Rights Committee inquiry on racial harassment in higher education
- A blog by Gurnam Singh, Associate Professor of Equity of Attainment at Coventry University, on what universities can do to tackle the impact of coronavirus on BAME students