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It is as if we have breathed a collective sigh of relief on hearing news of Derek Chauvin’s verdict

April 2021.


It is as if we have breathed a collective sigh of relief on hearing news of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd. A sense that justice has been done, where so many times it has not.

This also brings to mind the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Two of the perpetrators were convicted of murder, but not until 2012, and only because his parents and others were relentless in their search for justice.

As were thousands of people across the world in their demand for justice for George Floyd.

There is much sadness and pain for many who are still witness to and experience repeatedly the violence of racism in word and physical act. There is also a relief because there is hope that something has changed for the better, that things cannot just go on as before. President Biden has talked about a ‘moment of significant change’. The message for organisations is that if we want things to change we have to do things differently.

Here at Warwick, we have made a commitment to that change. In partnership with colleagues from the Race Equality Task Group, the University Executive Board made a commitment to significant change by doing things differently.

We have no illusions that eliminating racism is easy. We may make mistakes as we go. But we have collective hope as a University that we can change things for the better. We are making significant progress in assessing practice around race equality and how this affects our students and staff. We use the Race Equality Charter to measure and benchmark our work.

Through the data we have collected and the lived experiences that people have shared with us we are piecing together a more in-depth understanding of the challenges facing Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and staff. We already have in place a number of actions, projects and structural reviews, and we will use this additional assessment to produce comprehensive anti -racist action plan that focuses on cultural and structural change.

Many of the issues raised within our community following the death of George Floyd last summer are in progress but we can and will do more. We have made great strides putting in place Report and Support, where students and staff can report racism, but we continue to look at the experience of reporting incidents so that we improve that experience and outcomes for everyone affected by racism.

Racism is a culmination of many factors, of history, economics, politics and culture - to name just a few. This can make a huge challenge even more daunting, and much of it is out of the control of our University community.

What we are committed to doing is to shape our culture and our place, and make significant changes in the way we do things around here, for the better.

Kulbir Shergill,

Director of Social Inclusion.