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Award recognises the University's ongoing commitment to tackle racial inequalities.

The Race Equality Charter is a national scheme that provides a framework for higher education institutions to recognise, investigate and challenge barriers to recruitment, progression and retention of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and students.

The University’s submission was a result of a three-year process that involved consultations with staff and students, conducting surveys and focus groups, and extensive data analysis.

Speaking about the award, Professor Eilís Ferran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations, said: “We are encouraged that the University’s work on race and racism has been acknowledged with the Race Equality Charter bronze award. Applying for the REC award was a complex and difficult journey that invited us to identify and reflect honestly on the impact of structural and other forms of racism on staff and students.

“We know there is work to do. We have developed a three-year action plan to tackle any racialised inequalities and embed an inclusive culture. The award is a step towards ensuring that we have the right processes in place.”

The University’s application was driven by the commitment and expertise of a number of people, including University Race Equality Champions, Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa and Dr Kamal Munir, who said: “We are delighted that the University of Cambridge has been awarded a bronze REC award. The past few years have seen us continue, but also initiate, difficult conversations across the University on topics many considered awkward and even unnecessary. Both structural and cultural change take time, and all the work done so far represents just the beginning of this arduous journey to eliminate racism.

“We are clear that this award is not a reward but the recognition that we have serious issues to attend to, and that we, as a community, are willing to do so. The bronze REC award strengthens our resolve to keep pushing against visible and invisible boundaries that BAME members of the University have to contend with everyday. We are optimistic about the future.”

The process of applying for the Bronze award allowed the University to look seriously and critically at actions that are needed to improve the experience of BAME staff and students at Cambridge. An action plan is in place to ensure that several areas are addressed, including staff recruitment and progression, student admissions and attainment, and the culture of our institution.

Some actions have already been taken across the University and the Colleges, including:

  • Race awareness training being available to all University staff  
  • Reviewing recruitment processes to improve consistency, fairness and transparency, and developing a plan to introduce a diverse recruitment framework
  • Establishing a network for BAME staff members.

In 2019-20, the number of BAME students admitted to the University reached a new record of 26.8%, which included a rise in the proportion of black students to 3.4%.

The action plan will ensure that further work continues to tackle inequalities and embed inclusivity across the University. Staff and students can find out more about this work here.

Published

15 November 2019