UCL News


UCL recognised at launch of new Race Equality Charter

21 January 2016

Marking the launch of the first ever award scheme recognising the work that universities are undertaking to advance race equality, UCL and seven other universities were presented with their Race Equality Charter awards at a ceremony in London this week.

UCL recognised at launch of new Race Equality Charter

The Race Equality Charter, developed and run by the Equality Challenge Unit, aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. The charter is supported by race equality experts, a number of prominent UK academics and by Jo Johnson MP, Universities and Science Minister, as a step towards the government's target to increase BME participation in higher education.

Addressing barriers

Universities commit to the charter's guiding principles which include acknowledging the complexity and often covert nature of racial inequalities, and addressing institutional and cultural barriers faced by staff and students.

The need for the charter is manifest. There is a huge disparity in the representation and success of Black and minority ethnic staff within UK universities. For example out of 14,315 professors, just 70 are Black. For students, there is a degree attainment gap of 15.2% between BME students who achieve a first or 2:1 and white students. This rises to a 25.2% gap for Black African heritage students.

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, UCL Pro-Vice-Provost for Africa and the Middle East and member of the project team, said: "The Race Equality Charter Mark self assessment exercise allowed UCL to take a good hard look at the diversity, attainment and profile of both its work force and student body.  This was difficult, but welcome and our resulting action plan is ambitious as well as achievable.  We are pleased to have been awarded the Race Equality Charter Mark.  However our real goal, as a university, is to ensure that every person working or studying at UCL has a high quality experience, irrespective of race and as such we look forward to the day when these awards are no longer necessary."

First step

Fiona McClement, UCL Equalities & Diversity Manager, added: "UCL's participation in the Race Equality Charter was driven by a deep commitment to effect positive change for black and minority staff and students. It required a great deal of honesty and self-reflection. The Charter offers the university a structured, focused way to address the inequalities we have identified. To retain the award, we now have to collectively deliver an ambitious 3 year action plan. We're delighted to receive the award but it is very much the first step on a challenging journey."

Jo Johnson MP, Universities and Science Minister, has leant his support to the aims of the Charter. He said: "These awards recognise the hard work of many universities to improve diversity on campus. This Government is committed to ensuring everybody has the opportunity to benefit from higher education, and want to see 20% more BME students entering HE by 2020. The Race Equality Charter is a welcome step towards helping meet that common goal."

The eight universities receiving awards today were part of a trial of the Race Equality Charter, in which 21 universities submitted an application. ECU's Race Equality Charter will be open to all UK higher education institutions from today.

The full list of trial award winners:

Bronze institution awards

  • De Montfort University
  • King's College London
  • Kingston University
  • Royal Holloway University London
  • Staffordshire University
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • UCL (incorporating the Institute of Education)
  • University of Manchester

Launch of RaceMatters@UCL

UCL has just published is application and action plan related to the Race Equality Charter. It will also be launching a new network: RaceMatters@UCL next month. This will be a forum for networking, peer support, sharing ideas, forging scholarly connections and collaborations, organising events, and positively influencing policy and practice on 'race' equality at UCL. 

Event: RaceMatters@UCL Launch 

Time and Date: 8th February, 4.30-6.30pm (including networking reception)

Venue: Nunn Hall, Institute of Education 20 Bedford Way (please note that the event is not in the Pavilion, as previously advertised) 


Ms Marcia Jacks, Co-Chair, UCL Race Equality Steering Group

Why Race Matters@UCL:

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, UCL Pro-Vice-Provost for Africa and the Middle East

Beyond Racial Gesture Politics: moving toward race equity in higher education :

Dr Nicola Rollock, University of Birmingham

Please register by emailing Sonal Bharadva at equalities@ucl.ac.uk


  • Professor Uchegbu, Ms Marcia Jacks and Ms Fiona McClement receive the award from Professor Laura Serrant