26-12-2014

Overview of the Race Equality Charter Mark

Fiona McClement

The Race Equality Charter Mark is being piloted with 30 universities. It was launched by the Equality Challenge Unit in recognition of that fact ‘race’ is usually a more sensitive topic than gender. This sensitivity means that some institutions may be in denial about the extent to which ‘institutional discrimination’ is a reality in their organisations or may wish to avoid addressing it for fear of reputational damage. The race charter is therefore intended to be a sector-wide framework for instigating action and measuring progress on ‘race’
Following the pilot, all other universities in the sector will be encouraged to apply for an award from 2015. If UCL is successful in gaining an award in the trial, it will stand for three years, following which the university will have to reapply. There are three levels of award: bronze, silver, gold.

The deadline for the submission is April 10th 2015. The submission will be judged by an evaluation panel which will comprise of academics and professional and support staff and students.

UCL Project Plan

The project plan is based on the premise that for the Race Equality Charter Mark to instigate positive, long-term, impact at UCL, it requires commitment and engagement from the whole university.
The project plan is as follows:

· Institutional leads have been identified who have expertise and responsibility for specific UCL functions that are relevant to the main themes in the submission (for example admissions, career development.) The institutional leads are expected to review relevant data, consider existing issues, make recommendations for future action and help draft the submission.

· The institutional leads will be collaborating with members of the Race Charter Self-Assessment Team (SAT). The SAT lead will be a ‘critical friend’ whose purpose is to help ensure thinking on race equality is embedded in existing and emerging policy, practice and processes.

· The SAT leads are being supported in this role by a staff sub group and a student sub group. The subgroup meetings are a forum for SAT leads to exchange ideas, reach a consensus on priority areas, problem solve and develop a 3 year cohesive action plan for UCL.

· The main SAT meetings function as a project oversight group, and will ensure an ambitious, wide-ranging and effective application and action plan is submitted.

In tandem to this activity, a coalition of heads of departments has been established. The heads of department will be attending a workshop on Critical Race Theory in February. Following this they will be asked to undertake a consultative exercise to better understand the experiences of black and minority ethnic staff and students in their areas. This activity will be preparation for the development of innovative departmental equality initiatives that will be piloted for a year before evaluation and roll out across the university.

It is anticipated that the first draft of UCL’s Race Equality Charter Mark submission will be available online for comments and feedback in January.

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