The University of Sheffield has announced that it will be launching an initiative to recruit ‘Race Equality Champions’ to change the way they tackle racism.
The university is set to train the chosen students to lead ‘healthy’ conversations in University residences and across campuses. The initiative is part of the University’s Race Equality Strategy, and will see the champions also provide optional training to student society leaders to ensure students know the support available to them. The discussion content has been developed through consultation with a wide range of students and academic experts at the University, and is designed to encourage students to have “healthy, open discussions”, and express their opinions in the process.
Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “Here at Sheffield, we think it’s important to be open and honest about racism, which is why we listened to our students and worked closely with our Students’ Union and our BME committee to develop the Race Equality Champion roles to change the way people think about racism. These Champions will give our students the skills to challenge microaggressions now and in the future. They will also ensure students are aware of the support available to them at the University of Sheffield.”
A comment from Tshepang, a student at the University of Sheffield, said: “The university’s dedication to tackle issues of racial intolerance, inequality, prejudice and discrimination is highlighted in all its efforts to recognise and correct it where it can. The important area of focus that is often neglected is that of translational impact of these type of projects as there are rarely ever timelines in place for impact analysis of these “progressive approaches to these challenges”. Evaluating whether people’s lives on campus are being influenced by these well intended programmes is important in recognising whether priorities should be realigned.”