Championing equality, diversity and inclusion
Welcoming everyone and ‘being you’ at BNU is important to us. Our diverse community helps make studying and working here inspiring, fun and creative. We have a proud history of valuing the importance of inclusion and we will continue to play our part to challenge inequality and build a fairer society.
Equality, diversity and inclusion is key to our strategy. This underpins how we respect and value others and champion an inclusive community that transforms lives.
We value diversity and inclusion through multiple events. To celebrate and mark important occasions we have a calendar so that we can support inclusive thoughtful planning for students and colleagues and inspire understanding. Colleagues can catch up with previous webinars, blogs, events and sessions on our BEN page.
Our Committee provides strategic direction and oversight of our development and performance in creating a culture of genuine inclusion for students and colleagues, one that celebrates diversity and proactively develops good relations between people.
EDI Committee meeting minutes:
Our network is open to everyone to create an intersectional safe space that champions a more inclusive university, so that everyone can be themselves.
Our network is a place where members can learn about diversity in an inclusive and open environment, which promotes connectivity and personal growth. The Network serves as a voice, critical friend and catalyst for influencing change in equality and diversity and is open to allies. There are plenty of workstreams and the opportunity to join a reading group.
Our steering group guides the activity of the Race Equality Staff Network. It aims to make us more inclusive, culturally sensitive and reflective of our multicultural community. Members play a key role in linking with other networks.
As part of our commitment to apply for Bronze Race Equality Charter status, we have a team that is working to identify and reflect on improving representation, progression and success of ethnic minority students and colleagues. The team meets monthly to progress agreed actions. Find out more about the Race Equality Charter and meet the team.
Our working group has membership across BNU to review our activity, actively share ideas, explore research and engage our community on campaigns.
To find out more about our networks or join them email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our strategic approach helps us to learn and develop. We also have several national accreditations and pledges.
BNU will continue to engage with our community to embed and advance our definitions.
We have adopted the IHRA definition. “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The definition includes a non-exhaustive list of contemporary examples. You can read these here. We also included two additional clarifications:
- It is not antisemitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
- It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
We have adopted the IHRA definition. “Antigypsyism is a manifestation of individual expressions and acts as well as institutional policies and practices of marginalization, exclusion, physical violence, devaluation of Roma cultures and lifestyles, and hate speech directed at Roma as well as other individuals and groups perceived, stigmatized, or persecuted during the Nazi era, and still today, as ‘Gypsies’.
This leads to the treatment of Roma as an alleged alien group and associates them with a series of pejorative stereotypes and distorted images that represent a specific form of racism.” The definition includes a list of examples of Antigypsyism/Anti-Roma.
BNU recognises the complex nature of defining Islamophobia, so worked with our Muslim community and consulted with experts, to understand how best to define and challenge it, while also considering the context of education and existing definitions* of Islamophobia. Following a lengthy process, the University Senate recently endorsed the working definition and examples of Islamophobia recommended by BNU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The University’s definition is as follows:
“A fear, prejudice, hostility or hatred of Muslims or non-Muslim individuals that transcends into religious or racial discrimination or intolerance, by excluding or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, of equal human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, educational or any other areas of public life, both in the online and offline world”.
Non-exhaustive examples of Islamophobia in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere include:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim, in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion. Similarly, calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of individuals due to their perceived or actual connection to or support of Muslims. In addition, acts of aggression within which the targets, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Muslim(s) or linked to Muslims.
- Making mendacious, dehumanising, vilifying, demonizing, objectifying, or stereotypical allegations about Muslims as such or the power of Muslims a collective group, such as, especially but not exclusively,
- conspiracies about Muslim entryism in politics, government or other societal institutions;
- the myth of Muslim identity having a unique propensity for terrorism, and claims of a demographic ‘threat’ posed by Muslims or of a ‘Muslim takeover’ or blaming Muslims for the economic and social ills of society;
- objectifying and generalising Muslims as different, exotic or underdeveloped, or implying that they are outside of, distinct from, or incompatible with British society and identity;
- espousing the belief that Muslims are inferior to other social or religious groups.
- Accusing Muslims as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Muslim person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Muslims.
- Accusing the Muslims as a people, or Muslim majority states, of inventing or exaggerating Islamophobia, ethnic cleansing or genocide perpetrated against Muslims.
- Accusing Muslim citizens of being more loyal to the ‘Ummah’ (transnational Muslim community) or to their countries of origin, or to the alleged priorities of Muslims worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
- Denying the Muslim people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of an independent Palestine or Kashmir is a terrorist endeavour.
- Applying double standards by requiring of Muslims behaviours that are not expected or demanded of any other groups in society, e.g. loyalty tests. Or holding Muslims collectively responsible for actions of any Muslim majority state, whether secular or constitutionally Islamic.
- Using the symbols, images associated with classic Islamophobia (e.g. Muhammed being a paedophile, claims of Muslims spreading Islam by the sword or subjugating minority groups under their rule) to characterize Muslims as being ‘sex groomers’, inherently violent or incapable of living harmoniously in plural societies.
- Applying ethnocentric approaches to the treatment of Muslims (judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture). For example, evaluating Muslim women’s choice of dress exclusively through the speaker’s expectations and without reference to the personal cultural norms and values of the women in question.
- Deliberate or thoughtless exclusion of Muslims by sustained expected exposure to activities/events/places revolving around non-halal food or alcohol, without reasonable alternatives or justifications
BNU will continue to engage with our community to embed and advance our definitions.
*Existing definitions and examples that were considered included: Runnymede Trust (1997 and 2017); Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) (2018); the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) (2018); the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) rejection statement (2020); and a proposed UN definition (2020).