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For staff


These academics are standing up for diversity and inclusion at Cambridge.

The brief for an equality champion is a broad one, ranging from providing a listening ear to liaising with staff and student diversity networks and sitting on the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee. The champions can act as supporters and advocates for individual students and staff, but they are also there to represent protected groups collectively by acting as voices for equality in University governance. Crucially, their role is to challenge the University, to be “honest, critical and direct”, as one of them puts it, as well as offering their leadership to bring about change and increase inclusivity across the University. There are five equality champions at University level: below, you can read about each of them.


Dr Nick Bampos, the deputy head of the Chemistry department, is the disability and wellbeing equality champion as well as the LGBT+ champion. He sees the role as centred on advocacy and problem-solving. As a champion, he is someone that people can contact for help, advice, or just a chat, but he can also feed concerns he meets on the ground up to the key committees of the University. He believes the equality champions help to bring coherence to the University’s work on equality, cutting across its diverse collegiate structure. Nick has been instrumental in supporting the thriving LGBT+ staff network that has been meeting regularly for many years. More about Nick.


Professor Sarah Colvin is a gender equality champion and the Schröder Professor of German in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. She researches prison writing, political violence, and women in German literature and drama. She points to Cambridge as a place with “the capacity and will to show national and international leadership on social justice issues” and believes the champions are there to set the bar high for equality and diversity at Cambridge. She says: “there is plenty of work to be done in a University that has historically drawn from and fed the most privileged areas of society – there is no point being in denial of that. My sense is that, right now, Cambridge is not in denial; we are working hard and moving fast, and that’s the trajectory I want to contribute to.” More about Sarah.


Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa is one of the two race inclusion champions. A Senior Lecturer in Sociology, her research focuses on the ‘quality’ of the experience of racism: what racism does, what it feels like. She applies her research findings to developing practical ways to end oppression: she founded a collective in Mexico that helps organisations talk about racial justice and build it into their work, and has applied the same methodology to her teaching and workshops in Cambridge. She wants the University to be a UK leader in tackling racial inequality by starting with the acknowledgement that racism is a problem and working proactively to deal with it. Dr Moreno Figueroa is calling for an open conversation in the University about institutional racism, asking “how does a place keep itself white? How does Cambridge manage to be so un-diverse in a world that is so diverse?” More about Mónica.


Professor Val Gibson is a gender equality champion and a Professor of High Energy Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory and one of the two gender equality champions, focusing on STEMM. She investigates fundamental particles at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. She has been involved in gender equality initiatives for many years through the Athena SWAN and Project Juno schemes. More personally, she is passionate about ensuring that the next generation of women in science do not have to face the same obstacles that she did in combining a distinguished academic career with caring responsibilities. For her, the champion role is “not just about working to remove obstacles for more women to join us at all levels, but also about celebrating the successes and recognising the achievements of those women who are already here.” More about Val.


Dr Kamal Munir is a race inclusion champion and a Reader in Strategy and Policy at the Judge Business School. His research is concerned with inequality, which he describes as “one of the biggest problems of our time, threatening our social fabric, political system and democracy”. He is interested in the persistence of inequality and how it is institutionalised in places that hide significant inequality under an appearance of meritocracy. As an equality champion he hopes to support people in breaking the silence around race at the University, encouraging openness about the lived experience of being a racial minority at Cambridge. Citing the progress made over decades in gender equality, he now wants to see the movement for racial equality gathering momentum. More about Kamal.


For more information about equality and diversity at Cambridge, click here.



28 February 2018


L-R: Mónica Moreno Figueroa, Kamal Munir, Val Gibson, Sarah Colvin, Nick Bampos. Photo by Nick Saffell.