The three main issues are: the lack of BAME staff/faculty; the need to improve diversity training for matriculating students; and the importance of expanding access and outreach efforts to target BAME areas and demographics.
The network published its first Action Plan Report on July 1, and pledged to work with other student groups as well as university colleagues to help deliver tangible and sustainable change.
Conceived and produced by 20 BAME students at St Andrews, the report has a threefold aim: accepting and presenting the problem, suggesting actions to make a change, and holding university members and others accountable. It covers issues including inclusive curricula, BAME wellbeing and support, access and outreach, community building, mentorship and training.
Currently staff from BAME backgrounds represent around 6.6 per cent of the University of St Andrews workforce. The university has established a Race Equality Working Group which is working to address issues impacting on recruitment, retention, attainment, and towards making organisational changes.
Actions which have been taken also include an audit of inclusive curriculum initiatives currently active across the university, with a focus on race and ethnicity, and the launch of St Andrews’ Staff BAME Network in 2018.
Principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Sally Mapstone said: “This is a comprehensive and especially important piece of work by students who have not only offered rich insights into the lived experience of BAME people at St Andrews, but made considered recommendations about what we, as a community, can and must do to achieve fairness, equality, and diversity.
“I hope that everyone who works or studies at St Andrews will take the time to read this action plan, and consider their own part relative to our collective desire to be the diverse, inclusive, and accountable organisation to which we have committed in our strategic plan. It is a compelling and revealing report, necessarily uncomfortable in places, but positive, forward-looking and already driving lasting change.”