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BNU adopts IHRA definition of Antigypsyism / GTRSB discrimination

This Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, Buckinghamshire New University has become the latest university to formally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antigypsyism and anti-Roma discrimination.

Consistent with the University’s historic mission to create a learning community that is truly inclusive, the definition will strengthen the University’s existing policies on racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying. The decision was taken at a meeting of the University’s Senate this month.

In 2019, a House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report stressed that ‘Gypsies and Travellers have some of the worst outcomes of any group across a range of social indicators,’ including education, health, employment, criminal justice and hate crime.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition is as follows: “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.

The adoption of the definition is a further commitment to the Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater communities after BNU launched the GTRSB into Higher Education Pledge in January 2021. The Pledge is a commitment to support GTRSB students into and within higher education, and forms part of the University’s continued efforts to inspire action to tackle discrimination.

The University has also been delighted to celebrate the achievements of our GTRSB students, including final year Fashion Design student Jason Doe who was awarded a scholarship from The British Fashion Council last year, and Janie Codona MBE, who was awarded a doctorate last year for 30 years of supporting and working with Gypsies, Travellers and, more recently, migrant Roma women and girls.

Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor, said: “BNU’s adoption of the Antigypsyism definition marks our unreserved commitment to ending discrimination against the Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) communities, who continue to face appalling inequalities and limited life chances. We believe society needs to make quicker progress in ending the marginalisation and unfair treatment GTRSB communities face. Our University will continue to play its part. We have already played a leading role in creating the GTRSB into Higher Education pledge and encourage more universities and educational institutions to sign up.  We will continue to work alongside GTRSB organisations, local partners, staff and students in breaking down the severe barriers GTRSB communities face, including racial discrimination, social exclusion, access to healthcare, and poor educational outcomes.”