At Kent, we have individuals and teams with expertise, commitment, interest and creative solutions to tackling racial inequality at the University and beyond. As a university we have benefited hugely from the work of these individuals and teams – the scholarly activity, initiatives and projects. It is vitally important that we recognise and celebrate the work of those who have led these for so long. That said, it is just as important that we recognise the structural and systemic issues we need to address through an institutional approach to antiracism.
Over the past three months, colleagues across the University have come together to work in partnership to advance our thinking and approach to antiracism at Kent. This work has been facilitated by Nous, an external consultancy, which has provided a team of experts and a critical external eye. The project was guided by a steering group, which I chaired with representation from Student Services, HR and Communications. The strategy development has been led by a wider reference group that included Kent Union, and academic, professional services (divisions and PSD), and commercial services colleagues. Many of these colleagues also hold other roles, such as staff network chairs, union representatives, or are in leadership positions at Kent. The perspectives and voices of the reference group in shaping the strategy have been crucial.
I am privileged to be able to share on behalf of the groups a draft of the Antiracism Strategy for engagement and input. Key areas that have developed over the course of the project are:
- An active emphasis on antiracism over racial equality – changing this from a ‘Race Equality Strategy’ to a much more proactive ‘Antiracism Strategy’
- Explicit orientation towards continuous action and learning for staff and students – recognising that this is not something we can achieve and finish; rather it is a continually evolving position in a continually evolving national and international picture with a focus on ongoing change
- Emphasis on accountability for change, particularly with the University leadership team
This strategy will enable us to prioritise the actions needed, to focus on the continual change needed, and to challenge accepted thinking and ways of working in all areas of our work. This is essential work to create a more inclusive community.
What happens next
Over the coming few weeks:
- The draft strategy will progress through the appropriate engagement and governance routes towards approval and adoption. The Antiracism Strategy will be seen by JSNCC for consultation (September). It will be discussed at the October EDI Steering Group meeting, for recommendation to October ASPP Board for approval and on to Senate and Council. We welcome your input via representatives at any of these meetings.
- There will be a Staff Webchat introducing the strategy – details to follow.
- The strategy will also feed into our Race Equality Charter work, informing the Self Assessment Team and task and finish group development.
We very much welcome your comments and feedback – this can either be through the meetings and boards as outlined above and/or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To build an antiracist organisation requires a commitment from all of us, whatever our role at Kent, and I very much welcome your input as we advance this important work.
Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura | Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance