As a world leading university dedicated to academic, educational and research excellence, addressing issues of race and fighting racism and racial inequality are central to King’s mission of ensuring that students receive the highest quality education, and that they and staff are supported to thrive while serving society and making the world a better place.
For the past three years, over 4000 King’s staff and students have participated in events and discussions and influenced policy on issues of race and racism, including King's College London Students' Union (KCLSU) and the staff Race Equality Network.
I am delighted that our assessment and action plan have been given a Bronze award. We, like our peers across all sectors must fight against racism and the ignorance, intolerance and apathy that allows it to continue. I am proud of the international and diverse community we have at King’s. I admit that it has not been an easy process and we have faced challenges in recognising the need for long-term institutional change, but I want to thank everyone in their efforts in recognising that meaningful and sustainable change has to start with our commitment to fighting the inequality and racism we find around us – whatever our role. – Professor Sir Edward Byrne AC, President & Principal King's College London
The Race Equality Charter was set up by Advance HE to improve the representation, progression, and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The Charter is underpinned by a number of key principles, including an acknowledgement that: ‘Racial inequalities are a significant issue within higher education. Racial inequalities are not necessarily overt, isolated incidents. Racism is an everyday facet of UK society and racial inequalities manifest themselves in everyday situations, processes and behaviours.’
The bronze mark recognises King’s successes in this area but also highlights how King’s need to strive for improvement in the future. – Salma Hussain, KCLSU President
Recognising inequality and racism around and within the community at King’s is a priority for the university. Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin, Vice Principal (International) at King’s and co-Chair of the university Race Equality and Leadership and Action Team (RELA) said, ‘Achieving the Race Equality Charter Bronze Standard is a fantastic endorsement of the work we have taken to date to respond to racial inequality. However, we must recognise that this is part of an important journey to enhance race equality and improve the experience of Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students.
Our work on race and racism now moves to a period of concerted delivery – implementing our commitments and realising a fairer, more equal university to work and study. It is critical to continue this to ensure that King’s is a safe and welcoming place for everyone.’
Salma Hussain, President of KCLSU said, 'The bronze mark recognises King’s successes in this area but also highlights how King’s need to strive for improvement in the future. There will always be more to be done to ensure our campuses, both digital and physical, is safe and inclusive but I have great hope for the future.
I vividly remember coming to King’s for the offer holder’s day, looking onto campus and having a feeling of contentment because I felt that I belong. This feeling continued throughout my years at university, which is why I felt empowered to run for President of KCLSU, as a visibly Muslim Woman of Colour. I hope that one day all members of our community experience this feeling of belonging. KCLSU, and I as President, will always champion to have the voices of students heard and that we hold King’s to account in making progress in this critical issue of championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in our community.’
The Charter provides a framework which institutions use to identify and reflect upon the institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of minority ethnic staff and students. In order to apply for a Charter Mark, institutions submit their analysis and action plan to an independent panel convened by Advance HE. The Bronze Race Equality Charter Award recognises that institutions have undertaken an honest assessment of race equality, identified priorities, and developed a robust action plan to achieve these, and will also have demonstrated the support and commitment of senior leaders.
Feedback from AdvanceHE affirmed the university’s explicitly anti-racist approach and the level of commitment and engagement shown by senior leaders across the university. Key successes and commitments recognised by AdvanceHE include:
- 52% of King’s home, undergraduate student body identifying as Black and Ethnic Minority
- 14% of the most senior professional services leaders identify as Black and Ethnic Minority
- Halving the ethnicity attainment gap at 1st and 2:1, down to 5% from 12% in 2014/15
While analysis carried out has shown that progress has been made to level the playing field for Black and Minority Ethnic staff and students, the Charter Mark also recognises the real challenges the university still faces to improve the experience and outcomes for students, such as closing attainment gaps and developing inclusive curricula. Other significant barriers that still exist include further increasing the ethnic diversity of senior leaders; supporting staff and students to sensitively discuss race and racism; and support for staff and students to identify and report racial microaggressions, and for King’s to act appropriately
King’s originally joined the Charter in 2017 and submitted the successful application in July 2020. Now, having received the Bronze Charter Mark, the university has until 2024 to implement a comprehensive action plan to eliminate racism on campus.