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Equality or equity?
Equity is about creating a fairer society, where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Equality is the underlying principle which entitles everyone to freedom from unfair discrimination. The emphasis of good equalities practice is to provide an environment which encourages positive attitudes to difference and equal opportunities for all.
We've recently enhanced our dedication to equality, diversity, and inclusion by shifting our focus from equality towards that of equity. This new focus acknowledges and respects the unique circumstances of each individual, ensuring the allocation of tailored resources and opportunities to attain an equitable outcome for everyone.
Under our updated branding, EDI now stands for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, reflecting the core values that will resonate across all AUB platforms.
AUB's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment
At AUB, we value and celebrate the rich diversity present among our students and staff. Our commitment to inclusion extends beyond the protected characteristics and public sector equality duty, as we strive to cultivate an inclusive environment where the unique identities and talents of each individual are not only acknowledged but truly understood. In our pursuit of becoming a world-class art, design, and media university, we are dedicated to enhancing the diversity of our community. This commitment necessitates collaborative efforts to empower all members in advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion. Together, we aim to create a campus that actively addresses and removes barriers to inclusion, ensuring equitable outcomes for everyone and fostering a sense of belonging that is unique to AUB.
Our EDI goals are:
- Allyship: To create a strong community of advocates and allies where everyone is confident to speak up in support of others.
- Belonging: To foster a sense of belonging for everyone in AUB’s community, regardless of background, and to eliminate any barriers which may inhibit this.
- Equity: To promote equity, providing according to individual need and circumstance to ensure everyone in our community has the right tools and support in place to perform to their best.
- Representation: To increase diversity across our staff and student populations so everyone feels represented and has a positive role model within the community.
- Voice: To establish effective channels for staff and student voice which encourages everyone to understand their contribution towards AUB’s success and engage in open dialogue.
Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out the general equality duty and places a legal requirement on the University to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that's prohibited by or under the Act.
- Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who don't share it.
- Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who don't share it.
In addition, the Equalities Act introduced three ‘specific duties’ concerning: publication of information; equalities objectives; and manner of publication.
The Public Sector Equality Duty places a requirement on all higher education institutions to publish information on an annual basis and to prepare and publish equality objectives to continually develop one or more of the aims set out in the public sector equality duty.
The University produces an annual report on EDI activity, which is received by Academic Board and the Board of Governors. This report focuses on achievements against the EDI Plan 2030 and annual EDI team action plan, reporting on progress and confirming compliance with legal duties.
The EDI Plan 2030 aligns with AUB’s Strategy 2030 to enhance the development of a culture of inclusion and sense of belonging for all in the University community. The plan sets out AUB’s EDI ambitions, outlining its goals and objectives alongside specific actions and targets we aim to achieve in the coming years. The EDI Plan 2030 is available for more information.
The University has an EDI Committee, chaired by the Director of People, Inclusion and Organisational Development to provide advice for the leadership team and Academic Board across all EDI issues and to oversee the implementation of the EDI Plan 2030.
The Committee has a broad membership with members from both the academic community and professional services, and student representatives nominated by the Students’ Union. It's a strategic committee which reviews data, receives reports on activities and on national developments, and advises on areas for further investigation or action. The Committee terms of reference and constitution are available for download.
Protected characteristics (in the context of Public Sector Equality Duty) are defined as:
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
- Religion or belief – this includes lack of belief
- Sex (male and female)
- Sexual orientation.
It also applies to marriage and civil partnership, but only in respect of the requirement to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination.
In line with best practice, AUB is further committed to the characteristics of socio-economic background and caring responsibilities, particularly when assessing policies and practices under an equality impact assessment.
AUB has adopted the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, which would be referred to in the event of any complaint raised by a member of staff or student.
For further definitions of common equalities terms, the Equalities Committee has recently developed a Lexicon of equalities terms for ease of reference within the University.
For the specific duty AUB is required to:
- Publish information to demonstrate compliance with the general duty annually.
- Publish data on the make-up of the workforce.
- Publish one or more equality objectives covering a four-year period.
You can find further information on the Equality Act on Gov.uk.