These past few weeks have served a painful reminder – should a reminder ever be needed – of the injustices and systematic discrimination many of our students, colleagues and those in the wider community experience – sometimes on a daily basis.
Although we have seen protests like this before, every day brings new indications that we may finally see the step-change needed. New in post, it is my strong desire that we as a University use this to bring about real change, and to actively support our students during these challenging times.
The support available to you
My primary concern is the wellbeing of you, our students, and I appreciate that many of you may have been impacted by recent events. To that end, I’d like to outline the support available to all our students, both from the University and other sources.
Our Student Support and Wellbeing Team offer a range of confidential professional student support services, accessible remotely throughout the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and include:
- Dedicated support to those experiencing abuse and/or violence, including racial abuse, through our Disclosure Response Team. This includes: support to manage ongoing safety concerns; contact, via phone or online, to talk about your experience and all the options of support available; practical advice on housing, financial and academic needs; support if the person who has been violent/abusive lives or studies with you.
- A tailored model of emotional and psychological support, including counselling and psychological wellbeing sessions, workshops and groups. Through the referral process you’ll have the opportunity to discuss any requirement or preferences you may have including speaking to a BAME, Welsh-speaker or male/female member of staff.
- Talk Campus – which allows you to connect with others anonymously, providing a space to discuss the issues affecting you with a community of students from across the globe.
- Finally, if you feel that recent events have impacted on your academic performance, you can find more details here.
I’d also like to mention that the NUS have collected a good range of practice resources and guidance.
What we are doing next
We will shortly issue a joint statement with the Students’ Union, outlining further race equality initiatives and support. In the meantime, our Centre for Education and Student Innovation is working to ensure that our curriculum, as well as our teaching environments are inclusive, disadvantage no student, and in fact enable them while studying with us. This is in support of our Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024.
I hope these resources can provide a level of support at this time. As our Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan made clear last week, we are determined: racism and discrimination have no place in our modern society, and our University must be a force for change.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students