We’re recruiting Race Equality Champions to help students challenge microaggressions

As part of our Race Equality Strategy, we’ve launched an initiative to recruit Race Equality Champions to change the way students think about racism.

The new roles will be filled by students, who will be trained to lead healthy conversations in University residences and across campus. They will help their peers understand racism and its impact and equip them with skills that can be applied in a variety of work and social settings.

All students are encouraged to attend the sessions, where they will develop the skills to challenge microaggressions – subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, which are often unintentionally offensive.

The initiative forms part of our wider Race Equality Strategy and action plan, launched in March 2019, which aims to close the student attainment gap; address the under-representation and progression of BAME students and staff; and create an inclusive culture. By working together and with our students, we’re taking a holistic approach to progressing race equality.

The student champions will also provide optional training to student society leaders to make sure all students are aware of the support available to them.

Content for the discussions has been developed by a wide range of our students and academic experts, and is designed to encourage students to have healthy, open discussions, express their opinions and think critically about issues such as the Windrush scandal, perceptions of racism in British society and microaggressions.

Our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, 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.

“We take pride in being part of a community with students from over 140 different countries and all ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds and will continue to celebrate diversity on campus and ensure students are clear that there is no place at Sheffield for racism.”

In the media

Student Support Officer, Santhana Gopalakrishnan, who is leading the initiative to introduce Race Equality Champions, comments on how the initiative will give students the tools to think critically about perceptions of racism in our society.

Comment from Student Support Officer, Santhana Gopalakrishnan, on iNews

Creating a more diverse and inclusive University community

Our Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan is just one way that we're working to create a more diverse and inclusive University community. Take a look at our Inclusion at Sheffield pages to discover how we're progressing gender equality, LGBT+ inclusion and for details of our Report + Support online platform for staff and students for reporting and accessing support about harassment and discrimination of any kind.

Inclusion at Sheffield