Race equality at ARU

ARU is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and encourages allyship whilst maintaining a supportive working, learning and social environment for all students and staff.

What are our commitments to achieving race equality?

We’ve been working to become an actively anti-racist institution over several years, but in June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the global surge in the Black Lives Matter movement, our Vice Chancellor, Professor Roderick Watkins, committed ARU to securing racial equality.

A year later, the Vice Chancellor provided an update on our progress and renewed our collective commitment and determination to tackle racism and racial injustice. In it, he reminds us that ARU’s mission has inclusion at its heart and appeals to all members of our community to acknowledge that racism exists on our campuses and in our society, and that we have an absolute responsibility as a university community to identify and reject it in all its forms.

Our New Race Equality Strategy sets out a cultural change approach to achieving race equality. Built upon research and enquiry by ARU colleagues, including knowledge exchanges with other institutions, conference attendance, involvement in external research projects and our own institutional activity, the Race Equality Strategy was adopted in 2021.

We know we’re at the start or our journey to achieve genuine cultural and institutional change, but we’re committed to securing racial equality at ARU. Nothing less is acceptable.

ARU’s Race Equality Strategy

The Race Equality Strategy embraces an explicitly anti-racist approach, where students can thrive and be their best selves, where they know that they can achieve their goals and see themselves represented in the community they learn in.

Building on the foundations of bold leadership, communication, and a deeper understanding of our data, we have identified five workstreams to take forward:

  • providing opportunities for learning and conversations about race and anti-racism
  • developing more diverse role models and innovative HR initiatives
  • shifting the way we build our programmes of study, teaching and assessments
  • enhancing and diversifying wellbeing initiatives
  • reviewing and improving harassment reporting and complaints processes.

These five workstreams are summarised visually in a Race Equality Strategy diagram.

At ARU we’re proud of our diverse student population and welcome their contributions to the ARU community. We’re committed to working in partnership with our students and our Students' Union to help shape their time at ARU, making it the best it can be.

Read our Race Equality Strategy

What initiatives are underway?

Race Equality Action Plan

The Race Equality Action Plan will outline the key areas of activity and deliverables undertaken by ARU to achieve the aims of the Race Equality Strategy.

Race Equality Charter

The Race Equality Charter (REC) works on improving the representation, progression and success of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students in UK higher education.

Race Equality Student Advocates

“Our Student Advocates continue to play a major role in our work on race equality. This year they have been raising awareness of anti-racism, whiteness, privilege and related themes, and developing tools for the university to diversify curricula.”
Professor Roderick Watkins
Vice Chancellor, 25 May 2021

The Race Equality Advocates (formerly known as the BAME Advocates) are a team of students employed by the university to lead and deliver antiracist activities at ARU. Their work evolves every year according to the interests of the students in the team, but the focus is on raising awareness of racism and its impact, running educational activities and events, and supporting curriculum diversification at ARU.

Over the course of the programme, the Advocates have developed diversification guidance and tools to be implemented across faculties, hosted a series of termly events and activities on race and anti-racism and carried out projects in collaboration with staff, alumni and student networks. The Advocates have produced a number of resources like podcasts and blog posts (published on the ARU Student News blog; login required):

Race Equality Charter

The Race Equality Charter (REC) works to improve the representation, progression and success of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students within UK higher education.

The REC process encourages institutions to identify and reflect on structural and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students. Member institutions develop initiatives and solutions for action and can apply for a Bronze or Silver REC award, depending on their level of progress.

We became a member of the REC in 2018, and our REC team is currently working towards submission for a Bronze award.