We have heard from many staff and students this week the anger, fear and anxiety they are feeling about the events which have emerged from the USA and the broader injustices that are sadly a phenomenon far beyond one individual horrific event.
Racist behaviour will never be tolerated at St George’s. If you feel you have been subject to bullying and/or harassment of any kind, the University has robust procedures in place which aim to tackle this swiftly and firmly.
More broadly, these issues arouse strong feelings and naturally bring a spotlight to bear on how our own institution is addressing these fundamental issues around inclusion, diversity, and equity. We know from our own data that as a University we have more to do, especially in the areas of career development and recruitment.
We are already taking steps to address some of these issues including through establishing a Race and Ethnicity Staff Network; and participating in the B-MEntor Professional scheme, a cross-institutional mentoring scheme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Professional Services staff. For students, we are also seeking to tackle differential attainment, which refers to an urgent problem across the higher education system, where White students are more likely to attain a higher classification in their degree than those from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This is being tackled by the Attainment Working Group.
As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion we are piloting a new recruitment initiative which is designed to address issues of underrepresentation of BAME candidates in our recruitment activities.
Earlier today Aileen O’Brien, Dean of Students, wrote to students to offer specific support – this message is enclosed below.
At St George’s, our key values include respect and openness. As a leadership team we value listening to your opinions and engaging in honest, sometimes challenging conversations. Times such as these may well provoke specific insights and reflections and so if you would like to offer your perspective, or have any concerns, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I personally find the fact that we are isolated from one another is a tough challenge and I look forward to initially “distanced” conversations, before our eventual physical return.
With all my best wishes to you at what is an immensely stressful time from number of perspectives.
Professor Jenny Higham
St George’s, University of London