Op-ed: Racism at the uni
‘Horrified and ashamed of discrimination at the UG’
The UKrant article of November 25 Chinese students face discrimination, mocked and excluded made me feel not only horror but also shame at the attitude of some of my countrymen. The incidents described are very sad.
The University of Groningen strives for a safe work and study environment for all staff and students. That is what I am committed to as chief diversity & inclusion officer of the University of Groningen (UG). I realise that we are not yet at our final goal.
We strongly disapprove of and try to combat discrimination. We have a zero tolerance policy with regard to any form of violation of integrity and undesirable behaviour (code of conduct academic integrity), but we also know that this will not prevent discrimination and racism.
The UG is a learning organisation, also in the field of diversity and inclusion. It is important that we listen to each other, learn from each other, hear each other’s stories.
We know a code will not prevent discrimination and racism
Leaders are responsible for an inclusive community; staff and students should engage and learn from each other. That is why we are working hard to establish a well-functioning D&I office, together with a diverse advisory committee, and with the close involvement of the university council.
In addition to the confidential advisor, an ombudsperson will also be appointed in 2021. We realise that there is a lot of work to be done, but in an open dialogue between staff and students and by implementing (existing and new) policy, we must and can take steps towards a safe environment in which everyone can feel at home and have equal opportunities.
To realise this, it is also important that students and staff (continue to) report their negative experiences. This can be done via the confidential advisor, but also via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerry Wakker is chief diversity & inclusion officer at the UG