Structure and governance
We are a member of the Race Equality Charter and committed to improving the representation, progression and success of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students.
As a member of the Race Equality Charter, we're dedicated to supporting our diverse university community through programmes of events and workshops, partnerships with like-minded organisations and networks, our scholarship and support fund for Black students and by sharing resources for wider education in race equality.
We know that racial inequalities exist in Higher Education. Our aim is to develop a culture that encourages open, honest and difficult conversations about race equality among our staff and students – and that this will lead to positive change.
Our commitment to race equality
We joined the Race Equality Charter as a member in 2018, and will submit our application for a Race Equality Charter award in February 2021.
The University is committed as an organisation to tackling race inequality for both our students and staff through, for example, our work within the Race Equality Charter and Student Access and Participation Plan.
Our students and staff run public talks, exhibitions, workshops and concerts to promote race equality in our community.
The aim of our events is to widen the discussion of racial inequality experienced by our staff, students and members of the local community. By doing this we hope to raise awareness of the issues and struggles that exist so they can be addressed.
Black History Month
During October each year, we run public events to celebrate Black History Month in partnership with the Multicultural Staff Network, Student Union and Portsmouth Film Society.
The aim of the programme is to promote knowledge of black history, culture and heritage, and positive black contributions to British society.
Black History Month is an important and timely reminder to encourage us all, as individuals, to take time to explore, challenge and broaden our understanding of history, to help us appreciate the impact of black history and the part it has played in shaping the world and country we live in today. As the Race Equality Champion, I encourage everyone to participate in local and national events or commit to exploring resources and books that highlight often hidden experiences and history.
In 2020, Black History Month events included:
- The BHM Film Festival 2020 in partnership with Portsmouth Film Society.
- Professor David Andress, Professor of Modern History, delivered a session titled 'Why should Black History matter to everyone? – What is a middle-aged white bloke doing giving a talk in Black History Month?'. The Multicultural Staff Network facilitated a discussion reflecting on David’s presentation.
- Launch of the the Race Equality Supporters Network.
In 2019, events included:
- Our Global History archive project – a call to the community to contribute to the University archives to ensure a more diverse and reflective history
- Black History Month Film Festival – a showcase of Black British writers, directors and actors
- Fusion Festival – a celebration of the history, culture and diversity of the local Afro-Caribbean community
- Students Union Cultural Evening –an evening of different African cultures celebrated through food, music, pictures and clothing and performances from Gospel Choir, Capoeira and dance groups
- Black Preachers in Portsmouth – a talk on the experiences of three key Black preachers in Georgian Portsmouth when they arrive in 'the world’s greatest naval port'
- The Recordings of Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy book launch – reflections on the book and a live performance from Kirk's band
- Akala on race, class and imperialism – a talk and Q&A from BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala
- The Great Debate Tour – Black alumni debated prominent issues about race
We work closely with students, staff and the local community to make sure we're doing all we can to promote race equality.
Race Equality Supporters Network
Our Race Equality Supporters Network is a proactive way the University community can demonstrate their support for race equality, and help or work to progress race equality.
The network of staff and student representatives is working to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. It will provide a space for all to share and exchange resources and information, engage, be kept up to date and be part of our Race Charter journey.
The network is open to all with a University email address.
Multicultural Staff Network
The Multicultural Staff Network gives a platform for staff members from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to discuss important issues from a place of experience, share resources and initiate positive change across the University.
Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Network and the BAME Ambassador Scheme
We also support the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Network and the BAME Ambassador Scheme run by our Students' Union. The BAME Ambassador Scheme employs three students per faculty to represent the experiences of Black, Asian and ethnic minority students, and to campaign for race equality in the curriculum and student experience. Ambassadors feed back to the Union's Sabbatical Officers who work closely with the University. Find out who the current BAME Ambassadors are.
Students' Union societies
The Students' Union is run for students, by students as an independent charity. They encourage students to run their own societies, many of which are cultural societies representing students from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. We commit to promoting and supporting the events and campaigns run by these societies, such as Fusion Festival which took place during Black History Month 2019.
Scholarship and support fund for Black students
We believe every student with ambition and ability deserves the best chance to succeed. We hope to make that a reality through our Scholarship and Support Fund for Black Students.
Every Black student awarded a scholarship benefits from:
- study abroad opportunities
- global experiences
Our current core training for staff around Equality and Diversity includes an expanded section on race equality. The University is also looking to introduce specific race equality learning, that will explore areas such as institutional racism, white privilege and power, and racial microaggressions.
Student Access and Participation Plan
One key area of our Access and Participation Plan is the commitment to addressing the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) degree-awarding gap, by outlining actions that will be taken, examining attainment data and defining our measures of success.
As well as exploring news, events and blogs published by the University, we also recommend the following resources from our partners in the community:
- Black Lives Matter – a statement from Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth
- Black Lives Matter – a statement from the Students' Union
- Fiona McCall – Young people need to learn more about the history of racism in the US and Britain