We stand together in solidarity with our black students and staff.
As a university community and as individuals we are appalled by the senseless racist killing of George Floyd in the USA. We are equally saddened that the UK is not innocent. We know Sheku Bayoh, Kingsley Burrell, Sarah Reed, and many others have died in police custody in this country. We also all know about the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence.
We need to see the situation for what it is and we need to be honest: these experiences exist and structural racism is present in our communities and in our universities. As employers, educators, researchers and community leaders we have a duty to act and an important part to play, and we should start with apologising for not doing enough and for not confronting racism with the urgency it deserves.
We also know saying this isn’t sufficient. We have a duty to do better. Equality, diversity and inclusion are founding principles of our institution and core beliefs of our students and staff. We know that world events and media coverage shouldn’t be the only driver for change but recent events and feedback from staff and students tells us that we need to do more.
With this in mind, we are committing to a review of all of our equality and diversity work and by the end of September 2020 we will be sharing our detailed plan of action setting out how we will do more to achieve systemic and long-lasting change for our students and staff. As part of this, we will be reflecting on the work done by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the BAME attainment gap project and the BAME Staff Network.
The Vice-Chancellor will also be appointing a member of staff to work directly with her 1-2 days per week, on a secondment basis, to champion and deliver this important work.
We recognise that we also have a responsibility to educate ourselves and we will shortly be sharing resources for students and staff across the university.
In the meantime, we recognise how tough, hurtful, and traumatising the last few weeks have been to our black students and staff.
If you need support now, or at any time in the future, you can contact the Wellbeing Service or GSU Advice Service (for students) or the Employee Assistance Programme, a wellbeing champion or a member of Human Resources (for staff).
You can also join our BAME Staff Network (by emailing Natasha Abreo) or GSU’s BAME Student Society by emailing Mayo Femi-Obalemo, or email any suggestions you may have about how the university should take further action to Naseer Ahmad or Simone Murch from our EDI team.
Black lives matter.
Professor Jane Harrington
Vice-Chancellor and on behalf of the University of Greenwich
Dr Sandhi Patchay
Chair and on behalf of the University of Greenwich BAME Staff Network
On behalf of Greenwich Students’ Union
Gail Brindley, Director of HR & Professor Mark O’Thomas, PVC, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science, Co-Chairs, and on behalf of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the University of Greenwich