On Tuesday, George Floyd’s funeral took place in his home city of Houston. His senseless and brutal death has sparked profound shock and outrage both in the US and UK, and across the globe - St Mary’s University stands with our Black community affected by this.
I apologise for not writing on this sooner, but as someone new to the St Mary’s community I wanted to take time to listen, reflect and understand where we are on this and the issues facing the Black members of our community on this vitally important subject before writing in more detail.
Our University both acknowledges and recognises that the events of the past two weeks have caused considerable distress and anxiety, particularly for our Black colleagues and students, and the wider BAME community.
St Mary’s University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and that means that we must all take responsibility to make real and lasting change in our community. There is no place for racism or racial harassment of any kind at our university and beyond.
George Floyd’s death has brought into focus yet again the issues of inequality and racism which still exist, and we acknowledge that there is still much more that needs to be done to achieve lasting and positive change.
While work is underway, not least through our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network, alongside our Student Equality and Inclusion Group, there is a lot more to be done. As Vice Chancellor, I am committed to listening to, and working with, our staff and students to address racial inequalities in our learning community. I am meeting both staff and students this week and will continue to ensure opportunities for the University’s leaders to hear, reflect and act on the issues which the Black Lives Matter movement has brought to the fore.
Our core values, most importantly Inclusiveness and Respect, make clear that we celebrate differences, recognise that everyone is born with a unique identity, respect everybody and treat everyone as we would want to be treated. These values are crucial in creating a culture where everybody, regardless of their background, feels they belong in the St Mary’s community and that their contribution is both heard and valued. That is one of the meanings of the Generosity of Spirit that we also hold as a key St Mary’s value
Our fourth value, Excellence, means that we must continue to identify, reflect and act on institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of our colleagues and students from minority ethnic backgrounds. To support this, we are working towards ensuring that diversity is recognised in decision making and embedded through our organisation to ensure that every voice is heard.
Together with our partners and colleagues from across the higher education sector we are working hard to address issues of racism and hate crime. We need to ensure that our students and colleagues can have confidence that they can study, work and live in a safe, enabling and inclusive environment.
We understand this is a very difficult time for our students and colleagues and, together with our Students’ Union, we are here to support them. Further information about accessing support can be found below.
Student Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
St Mary's Students' Union: email@example.com
Big White Wall
Employee Assistance Program
Contact information for the BAME Network can be found on Staffnet and SIMMSpace.
I personally will make every effort to ensure that all of our diverse community feels they have a place at St Mary’s.