further & higher education
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Online Conference: Tackling Discrimination and Harassment Across Higher Education

further & higher education

09:00 - 16:00

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Online Conference

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, this Conference will run as a virtual event online.

This Online Conference will provide a unique opportunity to assess the latest progress of universities in tackling and challenging all forms of harassment and discrimination in the higher education sector. Leading experts and front-line practitioners will share new insights and best practice in preventing incidents, improving reporting and disciplinary procedures, enhancing support and welfare services for victims and the next steps for the sector in promoting cultures of tolerance, diversity and respect.

What to expect from an online Conference:

  • Full Conference delivered via an interactive online platform
  • Opportunities for virtual networking and discussion
  • Speaker sessions delivered with live presentations and resources
  • Live interaction tools and break out rooms
  • Varied formats and screen breaks to support an engaging experience
Audience

This Forum is specifically designed for the higher education sector. Those in attendance will include:

  • Directors of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Directors of Student Experience
  • Directors of Student Services
  • Head of Campus and Operational Services
  • Head of Legal Services
  • Heads of Complaints, Appeals and Conduct
  • Heads of Student Discipline
  • Heads of Student Support and Wellbeing
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officers
  • Student Counsellors and Pastoral Leads
  • Student Service Managers
  • Student Conduct Officers
  • Student Support Officers
  • Wellbeing Managers
  • Welfare Officers
  • Registrars
  • Vice-Presidents of Welfare
  • Deans
  • Senior Lecturers
Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Amy Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Office for Students (OfS)
  • Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Envoy for Race Equality, University College London (UCL)
  • David Isaac CBE, Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia and Chair, Universities UK Advisory Group to Tackle Racial Harassment
  • Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director,  Business in the Community and Independent Expert Advisor, Universities UK Changing the Culture Taskforce
  • Professor Paul Miller, Head of the School of Education, University of Greenwich
  • Professor Emma Bond, Director of Research and Head of the Graduate School, University of Suffolk
  • Kulbir Shergill, Director of Social Inclusion, University of Warwick 
  • Professor Andy Phippen, Professor of Digital Rights, Bournemouth University
  • Raeesah Ellis-Haque, Widening Participation and Undergraduate Recruitment Officer and Co-Chair, BAME Staff Network, University of Bristol
  • Claire Slater, Deputy Director of Student Services, Bristol University
  • Professor Vanessa Bettinson, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice and Member of the Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence Research Network, De Montford University
  • Carol Kilgannon, Director of Staff Development and Equalities, University of Winchester
  • Géraldine Dufour, Head of Counselling, University of Cambridge
  • Fiona McClement, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, University College London (UCL)
  • Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Registrar, University of Warwick
  • Rachel Archbold, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Durham University
View the agenda and additional speakers

Universities have received an unprecedented 700 allegations of sexual misconduct in the past academic year, with cases of sexual violence and harassment tripling in the three years up to 2018 – 2019. Equally, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have revealed that 180,000 students have faced racial harassment within the first six months of the last academic year, with 29% of all black students experiencing a racial incident at university.

The scale of harassment and discrimination across the higher education sector has prompted a significant response. Universities UK has called for immediate action from institutions, urging them to enhance reporting and response processes. In addition, the Changing the Culture Taskforce, convened by Universities UK, will conduct a major review in 2020 assessing the next steps in tackling racial discrimination and hate crime in universities. This follows a landmark report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in October 2019 pointing to serious failings in the sector with significant under-reporting, ineffective redress and examples of institutions failing to follow guidance on complaint handling.

Victims of sexual harassment and discrimination also highlight clear challenges in the way incidents are investigated. The Office for Students in January 2020 launched a major consultation setting out new regulatory proposals for the sector. The proposals would result in the OfS using its powers to intervene in cases where institutions were failing to deliver robust complaint procedures, fair investigatory processes and support for victims. If implemented, the new approach would mark significant regulatory expectations in how institutions prevent and tackle harassment and discrimination.

Major progress is now required for universities to be able to effectively prevent and tackle all forms of discrimination and harassment. With institutions facing accusations of ineffective reporting, response and disciplinary procedures, the onus now falls on all university leaders to enhance their practices to deliver high quality student services which support equality, diversity and respect for all students.

09:00

Conference Login and Accessing the Online Platform

*Please note to comply with the government’s social distancing guidelines, this Conference will run entirely via an online platform. Specific joining instructions and guidance will be provided to registered delegates


09:30

Chair's Welcome Address

Fiona McClement, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, University College London (UCL) (CONFIRMED)


09:40

Opening Keynote: Challenging Universities to Tackle Racial Harassment in Higher Education

  • Exploring the key action points for the higher education sector following the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s landmark report into Tackling Racial Harassment in universities
  • Assessing solutions for core failings including poor institutional understanding of racial harassment, under-reporting and ineffective complaint handling processes
  • Examining the predominant forms of racial harassment exposed across the sector including physical attacks, verbal abuse, microaggressions and social exclusion
  • Outlining the Commissions’ recommendations for government to overcome the limitations of the Equality Act 2010 and improve prevention and redress in universities

David Isaac CBE, Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) (CONFIRMED)


10:00

The OfS Perspective – Enhancing Reporting and Complaint Handling Standards

  • Exploring the Office for Student’s forthcoming consultation into harassment and sexual misconduct in universities
  • Outlining the proposed Statement of expectations on how the OfS will require providers to deliver a robust complaints procedure and independent investigatory process
  • Assessing the role of providers in implementing effective reporting mechanisms which are easily accessible and encourage students to disclose information
  • Understanding the OfS proposals for provider-level regulation supporting intervention if providers fail to demonstrate a robust complaint handling process

Amy Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Office for Students (OfS) (CONFIRMED)


10:20

Preventing Harassment and Discrimination: Next Steps for the Changing the Culture Taskforce

  • Exploring the new programme being led by the Changing the Culture Taskforce to assess how universities can improve how they prevent and tackle racial harassment and discrimination
  • Understanding the lived experience of students and staff from BAME backgrounds through a sector-wide consultation
  • Assessing the next steps in developing guidance and an action plan for the sector on how institutions can deliver effective interventions to counter racism
  • Analysing how the sector can support high impact solutions to overcome unconscious bias, microaggressions and inadequate understanding of diverse experiences

Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia and Chair, Universities UK Advisory Group to Tackle Racial Harassment (CONFIRMED)

Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director,  Business in the Community and Independent Expert Advisor, Universities UK Advisory Group to Tackle Racial Harassment (CONFIRMED)


10:40

Questions and Answers Session


11:00

Break


11:20

Panel Discussion: The Next Steps in Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment in Universities

  • How can universities develop an effective institution-wide approach in which incident reporting and awareness are embedded into all service provision?
  • Assessing how complaint handling and the investigation of allegations can be met with independence, fairness and transparency
  • Sharing practical examples from across the sector in transforming institutional cultures and attitudes to support improved understanding of respect, consent and healthy relationships

Professor Vanessa Bettinson, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice and Member of the Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence Research Network, De Monfort University (CONFIRMED)

Claire Slater, Deputy Director of Student Services, Bristol University (CONFIRMED)


12:00

Panel Discussion: Tackling Racial Discrimination and Hate Crime within Higher Education

  • Exploring the experience of racial harassment in universities from verbal abuse and violence to microaggressions and unconscious bias
  • Examining the relationship between incidents of racism and the impact on student mental health and educational outcomes
  • Improving staff training and institutional responses to racial discrimination, to support enhanced confidence in identifying and reporting incidents
  • Analysing the role of university leaders and governing bodies in improving oversight of redress and enforcement mechanisms
  • Addressing issues of hate crime facing BAME,  LGBT+ groups and disabled students

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanoscience and Envoy for Race Equality, University College London (UCL) (CONFIRMED)

Professor Paul Miller, Professor of Educational Leadership and Social Justice and President, The Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management(CONFIRMED)

Rachel Archbold, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Durham University (CONFIRMED)

Kulbir Shergill, Director of Social Inclusion, University of Warwick (CONFIRMED)


12:40

Break


13:40

Enhancing Safeguarding against Online Abuse and Harassment within Universities

Sharing findings from the January 2020 report, Online Harassment and Hate Crime in HEIs, this session will:

  • Explore approaches across the sector in tackling online harassment including the effectiveness of policies, training and reporting
  • Assess how universities can develop specific procedures for tackling online harassment and hate crimes
  • Analyse how reporting can be utilised to drive interventions and determine the effectiveness of an institution’s safeguarding response
  • Examine how institution’s can design training and awareness for staff and students around the specific risks presented by online harassment

Professor Emma Bond, Director of Research and Head of the Graduate School, University of Suffolk (CONFIRMED)

Professor Andrew Phippen, Professor of Digital Rights, Bournemouth University (CONFIRMED)


14:00

Lessons Learnt: Transforming the Approach to Challenging Sexual Misconduct and Harassment

Following a high-profile case of student sexual misconduct in the summer of 2019, the University of Warwick shares how it has transformed its approach. The session will consider:

  • Improving the process for responding to disclosures and formal complaints of harassment or misconduct
  • Embedding confidence and independence into reporting procedures
  • Putting support for victims and those that have experienced sexual misconduct at the centre of the new strategy

Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Registrar, University of Warwick (CONFIRMED)


14:20

COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Colston falling, what next? Ensuring staff of colour are heard and momentum is sustained

The last three months has seen a global pandemic and a worldwide reckoning on the racial inequalities and injustices still apparent in our society. Higher education is not exempt from this.

Our staff network has been grappling with how we can ensure our staff of colour at the University of Bristol feel safe, listened to and valued. This is a particular challenge in spaces and institutions where staff of colour are a tiny proportion of the staff collective. This session will look more closely on the model we have been using and its impact.

Raeesah Ellis-Haque, Widening Participation and Undergraduate Recruitment Officer and Co-Chair, BAME Staff Network, University of Bristol (CONFIRMED)


14:40

Questions and Answers Session


15:00

Break


15:20

Case Study: Designing a Zero-Tolerance Approach to Prevent Harassment and Hate Crime

  • Forming a network of ‘respect contacts’ throughout the university made up of staff, academics and students designed to improve awareness and enhance reporting systems
  • Delivering holistic training throughout the institution to offer a visible and supportive response to those facing harassment
  • Fostering a culture of ‘zero tolerance’ towards harassment and discrimination targeted at induction processes and then embedded throughout engagement and contact with students throughout their course
  • Collaborating with legal professionals, police and counselling services to deliver a high impact approach to response and redress
  • Sharing lessons in what constitutes a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, how it is enforced and how to measure the impact of interventions

Carol Kilgannon, Director of Staff Development and Equalities, University of Winchester (CONFIRMED)


15:40

Questions and Answers Session


16:00

Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change


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