Dr Dan Chan
Professor Dan Chan

Purpose of the Race Equality Task Group (RETG):

At the direction of the Principal, the RETG has been established by the RVC Equality and Diversity Committee (EDC) to consider and address issues (both actual and perceived) undermining race equality at the RVC. The group will work with staff and student representation to engage the RVC community in identifying issues of mutual concern, agree measures to address them and actively promote diversity and inclusion at the College.

The RETG will prepare a Report and supporting Action Plan for consideration by the EDC during the spring term of the 2020/21 academic year. The Report will be shared with be shared with the College Executive Committee (CEC) and the RVC Students’ Union in due course.

Terms of Reference:

The RETG will:

  1. Engage with students and staff to gather their views to identify where problems in relation to race equality lie.
  2. Review the support structures for both students and staff that are already in place, and seek views on how these might be adapted to make them more effective. This includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Reporting mechanisms for staff and students
    2. Student and staff links to the Equality and Diversity Committee (EDC) External partners – student placements, clients, sector and local communities
  3. Review the student culture, student recruitment strategies and information regarding racism within the student body, including the formal and informal structures and activities of the RVC SU, and develop proposals to address any issues that may be identified.
  4. Review the staff culture, staff recruitment strategies, policies and working practices to identify any issues which may be a barrier to racial equality and develop proposals to address any issues that are identified.
  5. Consider ways to raise awareness of race equality issues across the RVC community, including the RVCSU and curricula delivered.
  6. Consider ways to improve communication about, and engagement with, the formal and informal measures the RVC has put in place to meet both its statutory and regulatory obligations, and its own strategic and moral commitment to promote race equality.
  7. Ensure the RETG’s Report and Action Plan is aligned and compatible with the RVC and RVC SU’s wider strategies to promote diversity and inclusion across all equality strands.

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you so please get in contact any of the RETG members.

Chair of the RETG - Professor Daniel Chan -  dchan@rvc.ac.uk

Three staff representatives:

Dr Donald Palmer – dpalmer@rvc.ac.uk

Dr Mehroosh Tak – mtak@rvc.ac.uk

Revd Andy Marshall – Chaplain - Asmarshall@rvc.ac.uk

Three student representatives:

Students' Union President – Quentin Wedmore - supresident@rvc.ac.uk

Students' Union Equality Officer - Olivia Craddock - suequality@rvc.ac.uk

Animal Aspirations President - Lavinia Economu - leconomu5@rvc.ac.uk

The RETG is further supported by an Internal Advisor (Rebecca Costello - rcostello@rvc.ac.uk) and an External Advisor (Dr. Avtar Matharu - University of York - avtar.matharu@york.ac.uk)

Purpose of the Race Equality Task Group (RETG) news:

Monday 30th November 2020

In the last RETG meeting held on the 20th November, we explored some of the issues relating to recruitment, retainment and promotion of staff from ethnic and minority groups. We discussed that there are many challenges in obtaining the appropriate data we need in order to better understand possible reasons for the disparity we have. Our upcoming meetings we will:

  • Explore challenges faced by researchers from ethnic minorities in securing research awards
  • Learn more about the efforts and challenges faced by our Widening Participation team and
  • Evaluate the prospect of safeguarding students from racial discrimination and microaggressions during clinical rotations and work-based placements (eg, EMS)

As mentioned in my previous update, we are excited to announce that the College have signed up to the Advance HE Race Equality Charter (REC) membership and have fully endorsed the REC principles highlighted below. The REC aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education sector.  In doing so, the College is committed to the promotion and advancement of Race Equality.  For more information and updates please see the section within the Equality and Diversity website under REC.

REC members are committed to following these guiding principles:

  1. Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.
  2. UK higher education cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population and until individuals from all ethnic backgrounds can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.
  3. In developing solutions to racial inequalities, it is important that they are aimed at achieving long-term institutional culture change, avoiding a deficit model where solutions are aimed at changing the individual.
  4. Black and minority ethnic staff and students are not a homogenous group. People from different ethnic backgrounds have different experiences of and outcomes from/within higher education, and that complexity needs to be considered in analysing data and developing actions. 
  5. All individuals have multiple identities, and the intersection of those identities should be considered wherever possible.

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you so please get in contact any of the RETG members.

Members of Staff:

Members of Student Body:

Advisors:

Tuesday 3rd November 2020

Dear all,

The Race Equality Task Group (RETG) convened our fifth meeting in October and we would like to provide the following updates:

  • The main focus of our discussion was the student experience in relation to race issues encountered during rotations and EMS placements
  • Experiences shared by our students and collated via the Students’ Union recent survey highlighted 4 key areas that we will be exploring further and these include:
    1. Feedback & Reporting procedures for students on rotations and placements
    2. Review of support structures and guidance available for students during placements who encounter race-related incidents
    3. Developing specific training to rotation teaching staff and placement providers related to race issues encountered during rotations and placements
    4. Development of code of conduct charter for placement providers (covering various aspects of safeguarding and this would be applicable to all RVC courses that involve placements). Such a code of conduct charter could involve consultation with other vet schools and the RCVS
  • The RETG will explore these issues with the EMS Director, AHEMS Director and IMR Director and other placement coordinators in future meetings

October marked Black History Month in the UK and a number of activities were organised by the Students’ Union and the RVC and we hope everyone was able to take part in these activities and help celebrate Black History Month. If you would like to see some of the highlights please check the Equality and Diversity Pages

One highlight worth a watch can be found here: https://rvc.uk.com/BHM-in-conversation

To close out the month, perhaps very fittingly, the Principal signed the commitment of engagement with, and subscription to, the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter.

Finally, today, 3rd November, many around the world will be looking at Election Day in the US with great interest. As with all elections, there are implications for many issues, and a key impact may be on race relations not only in the US but further ashore. At a time where there is a great need for strong leadership, I leave you this non-political video clip shared with me by a colleague. It is only 5 minutes long – and trust me, its worth a viewing. To me, this is what true leadership looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkUrnHT1VvI

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you so please get in contact any of the RETG members.

Members of Staff:

Members of Student Body:

Advisors:

Friday 25th September 2020

Dear all,

The Race Equality Task Group (RETG) convened our fourth meeting this week since the inception of the task group and would like to provide the following updates:

  • We discussed the various challenges associated with canvassing the entire RVC community in relation to race and equality issues within the timeframe afforded the task group and hope to outline a plan to gather the views of staff in an efficient manner which could take the shape of “Town Hall” meetings or a short survey
  • The Students’ Union reaffirmed its commitment to present the issues they feel reflect the students’ experience based on a short survey they carried out this past summer
  • The Students’ Union also presented an often overlooked relationship between the environmental crisis, social injustice and racism and hope to raise awareness of this issue in our action plan
  • The RETG would also like to report that a meeting took place between representatives of the RVC teaching staff, RVC students and members of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society to discuss ways to incorporate race, diversity, equality issues in the delivery of our curricula
  • For the upcoming RVC Inset Days, we discussed opportunities to introduce discussions relating to race and diversity issues faced by students and staff during rotations and placements. As a primer for these discussions, I am attaching a very short piece (3 minutes to read) which highlights some of the issues encountered by trainees (in this case, trainee anaesthetists) in the workplace which has clear parallels to some of our students’ experiences.
  • As one of primary goals of the RETG is to listen to concerns raised by staff and students to enable us to formulate a strategic plan, we are listing the membership and contact details of the RETG in our messages in hopes of facilitating open communication

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you so please get in contact any of the RETG members.

Best wishes,

Dan

Thursday 10th September 2020

Dear all,

The Race Equality Task Group (RETG) is fully committed in providing our community with regular updates on our activities. We have met for a second time on the 26th August and began exploring findings of a survey conducted by the Student Union on race-related issues encountered by students. As there were many areas highlighted by the survey, careful exploration of issues identified is the current focus on the RETG agenda.

We also discussed the urgent need to gauge RVC staff views on the issues of race equality and how we could progress this next step. We are currently exploring options to undertake this important work within the working timeframe of the RETG.

Recognising that we have much work to do, we have agreed to meet more frequently than monthly to allow greater discussions of the issues identified. We are meeting this week and again in the next two weeks. We will also be seeking to form subgroups from the wider RVC community (staff and students) to help us better understand the issues staff and students consider crucial in our quest to make the RVC more diverse and inclusive. For those wondering the difference in these goals, I offer you this quote:

“ Diversity is being asked to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance.” — Verna Myers

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you so please get in contact any of the RETG members.

Best wishes,

Dan

Wednesday 26th August 2020

Dear all,

I hope all are well. I wanted to update everyone on the activities of the newly formed Race Equality Task Group (RETG). We held our inaugural meeting on the 22nd July and are meeting again on the 26th August. Our plan is to meet monthly as we work through our ambitious but important agenda.

As a group, we feel transparency is crucial to our goals and so we would like to share with you the subject of our first meeting which was to discuss our objectives, structure and membership. Below is a summary of our discussions.

Purpose of the Task Group:

At the direction of the Principal, the Race Equality Task Group (RETG) has been established by the Equality and Diversity Committee (EDC) to consider and address issues (both actual and perceived) undermining race equality at the RVC. The group will work with staff and student representation to engage the College community in identifying issues of mutual concern, agree measures to address them and actively promote diversity and inclusion in the College.

The Task Group will prepare a report and supporting Action Plan for consideration by the EDC during the spring term of the 2020/21 academic year. The report will be shared with the College’s College Executive Committee (CEC) and the RVC Student Union in due course.

Terms of Reference:

The RETG will:

  • Engage with students and staff to gather their views on identifying where problems in relation to race equality lie
  • Review the support structures for both students and staff that are in place, and seek views on how these might be adapted to make them more effective. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Reporting mechanisms for staff and students
    • Student and staff links to the Equality and Diversity Committee (EDC)
    • External partners – student placements, clients, sector and local communities Review the student culture, student recruitment strategies and information regarding racism within the student body, including the formal and informal structures and activities of the RVC SU, and develop proposals to address any issues that may be identified.
  • Review the staff culture, staff recruitment strategies, policies and working practices to identify any issues which may be a barrier to racial equality and develop proposals to address any issues that are identified.
  • Consider ways to raise awareness of race equality issues across the RVC community, including the RVCSU and curricula delivered.
  • Consider ways to improve communication about, and engagement with, the formal and informal measures the RVC has put in place to meet both its statutory and regulatory obligations, and its own strategic and moral commitment to promote race equality.
  • Ensure the RETG’s Report and Action Plan is aligned and compatible with the RVC and RVC SU’s wider strategies to promote diversity and inclusion across all equality strands.

Membership:

Chair - Professor Daniel Chan

Three staff representatives:

Dr Donald Palmer – Associate Professor of Immunology
Dr Mehroosk Tak – Lecturer in Agribusiness
Revd Andy Marshall – Chaplain

Three student representatives:

Students' Union President – Quentin Wedmore
Students' Union Equality Officer - Olivia Craddock
Animal Aspirations President - Lavinia Economu

The RETG is further supported by an Internal Advisor (Ferhat Nazir-Bhatti), an External Advisor (Dr. Avtar Matharu - University of York) and an administrator (Vanessa Charlesworth)

Our plans going forward is to provide regularly updates to the RVC community including the Student Union and Alumni network via a number of communication channels.

If anyone has some questions or comments, please feel free to contact any of the RETG members.

Best wishes, Dan

Chair – Race Equality Task Group

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