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George Floyd: one year on

Today marks one year since the murder of George Floyd. For many across the world and in our University community, this will be a challenging day with strong emotions.

As a community, we remain deeply committed to a programme of ongoing work to tackle racism. Whilst some progress has been made, there is much more that we need to do:

  • We have begun the journey to learn and develop through the Race Equality Charter (REC). This framework organised by Advance HE aims to improve the representation, progression, and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.  Through undertaking a comprehensive self-assessment and working through each section of the REC, we will develop specific, targeted actions to advance race equality.
  • The Black Lives Matter movement is a catalyst for change across the world, and at Middlesex has helped spark a series of deep conversations to better understand the black lived experience, both generally, and specifically within the University context.  These conversations have taken place across the University and at all levels, including reverse mentoring of colleagues in senior and Executive roles.  We have sought to actively listen to our students and staff when they tell us about the racism, prejudice, and micro-aggressions they face.
  • Working with the MDXSU, work has been undertaken to improve our reporting procedures and decolonising the curriculum through our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Curriculum initiative. We are committed to challenging ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable that might be, and learning to make improvements collaboratively.
  • A clear set of actions and communications across Unihub were developed to signal our support of Black Lives Matter and ways students can get involved, be supported as well as being empowered.
  • We utilised Black History Month in October as an opportunity to begin to move further through a range of activities and events hosted and supported by the University and MDXSU.  For example, an Edubate event on Black Lives Matter: How to move from slogans to meaningful change took place in October 2020 with the express purpose of exploring how we can challenge racism and prejudice, recognising the need to do more in universities and in society at large.

We recently adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism and are working to embed the spirit of this and the APPG’s definition of Islamophobia meaningfully and sensitively for the benefit of all.  Reframing our approach to faith, race and other forms of discrimination provides a catalyst to create a community and culture of understanding, equity, respect, and inclusion.

  • Over the last year, the University became aware of concerns from some of our East Asian, especially Chinese, students about either facing some form of abuse, harassment or feeling unwelcome due to the pandemic, not at Middlesex but across their wider lives. Our teams reached out across various social media platforms to connect with students and to help students in need through our range of wellbeing and support services. It was important that all those who faced COVID-related racism continued to feel welcome, supported, and part of #TeamMDX, and as a University we are committed to tailoring support sensitively to be agile in responding to external challenges.

We will continue to evolve and learn from each other and grow as an anti-racist and inclusive organisation. As a University we are a sum of our many diverse parts – we are all #TeamMDX, and we each contribute to how we tackle racism in all its forms together. Thank you to each of you.

MDXSU will be releasing a statement later today, which you’ll be able to read on their website.

Anna Kyprianou

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

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