Tackling Racism – a message from our Dean, June 2020

Tackling Racism in our Faculty

“As colleagues and as human beings, we all have a part to play in creating an inclusive workplace culture”

Here our Engineering Dean, Ian Bond, gives an overview of how we are working to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination for our staff and students.

Tackling Racism

Further to my recent email, I would like to reiterate to all of you, as colleagues and as human beings, that we all have a part to play in creating an inclusive workplace culture, and that racism and discrimination will not be tolerated in our Faculty. We are working hard to make a difference to our colleagues, students and partners who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic / People of Colour, I wanted to share with you a brief overview of some of our work in this area.

Changing our decision-making structure

We have, over the last year, reviewed our decision-making structures for advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). We now have a Faculty level EDI committee which I personally chair. We are implementing a new structure that will enable change to happen more quickly – bringing in new projects or processes and altering existing ones. I am overseeing the work, working closely with colleagues and students within the two schools and Faculty, and I am deeply committed to making the right changes in order for racism, and the discrimination that people with other Protected Characteristics face, is eradicated.

Open session for BAME/PoC staff – an invitation

I am pleased to let you know that, thanks to the concerted efforts of Maitri Patel and Chiara Singh-Fisher in our Faculty, working in partnership with Nicole Dixon in the Faculty of Science, we are supporting an open session for all BAME staff in the Faculties of Engineering and Science to come together. This open-agenda session will be on Wednesday 1 July from 1-2pm, for staff from BAME backgrounds to discuss what would best work for them. If you are a Person of Colour/ from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, and you haven’t received the calendar invitation, please email engf-faculty@bristol.ac.uk

I look forward to hearing what BAME/PoC staff tell me about what they need, and what would make a difference. If staff wish to establish a network for staff in our Faculty, then I shall support that – but I won’t pre-determine what will work best and will respond to what staff themselves tell us. We anticipate there will be many things required, and I will work through these requests and suggestions via the EDI committee and its action sub-groups.

White allies

There has been an increase in awareness of how important it is to be an effective white ally and the importance of using white privilege to support People of Colour/BAME people. It should not be the responsibility of BAME people/People of Colour only to fight racism. The SCEEM Professional Services school team have begun excellent work exploring the issue of privilege and how to be a more effective ally, and I would encourage all teams and individuals to be unafraid to have these conversations and commit to actions that they can take to make changes.

Engineering Includes Me launch event

We have been compiling a new website promoting inclusion in the workplace, full of case studies and information on how we support staff in our Faculty to excel in their careers, and not to face barriers. We will be launching this at an event on July 8, where we hope to welcome guest speakers to talk to us about race and gender. I would strongly urge you to join me there.

Training – Stand Up Speak Out

The University has put together an excellent Stand Up Speak Out online training toolkit to guide you through how to be an Upstander. Please take a little time to go through this toolkit and inform yourself on how best you can tackle racism and other forms of discrimination when you witness it. It’s provided in four bitesize units, making it very easy to go through.

Reporting or dealing with Unacceptable Behaviour

If you do or have experienced or witnessed behaviour that you feel is unacceptable, you can report it via the Report and Support tool, talk to a neutral third party in the form of the Acceptable Workplace Behaviour advisers, or seek guidance via the Unacceptable Behaviour flow chart. You can also lodge a formal grievance using the university’s Grievance policy.

Pearn Kandola seminars

I strongly encourage you to listen to the seminars on racism offered by Pearn Kandola (available to listen long-term). They cover topics such as racism in the workplace and managing micro-incivilities.

​​​​​​​With a collective effort, we will make our workplace culture fully inclusive.