Date lapsed: November 2023
Proposed by: Shamima Akter (Vice President Welfare)
Seconded by: Talhah Atcha (President, Students’ Union), Megan Annetts (BLSA President), Annika Ramos (Vice President Education)
What do you want?
For the Student’s Union to publicly acknowledge that institutional racism exists within its structures and to curate and implement a plan to tackle it. The method in which the acknowledgement should happen is through the production of an official, lengthy written statement and then publishing that statement on all the Union’s digital platforms, including the website and social media sites. In order to create the plan, consultation with previous Executive Officers should take place, to understand the experiences they had with staff within the structure, as well as an investigation into the experiences of staff themselves. An additional student consultation needs to be carried out, to investigate the relationship between the Union and the wider Student body. The aim of the plan should be to implement a staff policy that leads to cultural change within the organisation, with inclusion and representation at the forefront.
In parallel to doing that, the Union should lobby the university to do the same, that is, publicly acknowledge its institutional racism and implement a plan; a plan that drives inclusivity and culture change not merely tick boxes. Decolonising the curriculum should the forefront of that plan, alongside reviewing staff policies against discrimination (especially racism) and bullying and also student policies around the same issues.
Both the Union and the University need to work together to actively campaign against racism by better educating those, within the structures, of their own privileges and how they can sensitively navigate that. As well as being able to provide appropriate training for staff to be able to deal with any issues sensitively and conduct themselves appropriately within the workplace.
This policy lead for this should be the Executive Officers, ideally the Vice President Welfare; this needs to be at the top of the Executive’s priority both this year and the following years.
Why do you want it?
With a recent release from the University of Sheffield, where they call themselves out for institutional racism, whilst educating people what racism is and how deeply rooted it is in our structures, it instigated the thought that we need to be humble and accept that institutional racism is an issue and pledge to actively address it.