Press Office

George Floyd statement

Statement from Executive Board

Published on: 4 June 2020

The senseless and brutal death of George Floyd has sparked outrage across the globe and Newcastle University stands in full solidarity with his family, friends and community.

In our own university community, we recognise that the events of the past week have caused considerable distress and anxiety for many people, and particularly for our black colleagues and students, and the wider BAME community.

Newcastle University has a long-standing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and, while mindful that we bear responsibility to make real and lasting change in our own context, we wish to reaffirm that there is no place for racism or racial harassment of any kind in our university.

George Floyd’s death has brought into sharp focus yet again the issues of inequality and racism which still exist globally and at Newcastle we acknowledge there is still much more that needs to be done to achieve lasting and positive change.

Much important work is being undertaken, not least through our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff network, and through the leadership of our Students’ Union, and last year we became a member of the Race Equality Charter (REC) which was a milestone for us in terms of focussing our work to address racial inequalities.

The REC is underpinned by five key principles and we are committed to embedding these principles in all our policies, procedures and practices that concern both colleagues and students.

This will help us identify and reflect on the institutional and cultural barriers that stand in the way of our colleagues and students from minority ethnic backgrounds.  To support this, representatives from our BAME staff network sit on key committees, steering groups and task and finish groups across the university.

We have also formed a REC Self-Assessment Team (SAT), chaired by our Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julie Sanders, signifying the strong commitment of the University to this work.

The membership is drawn from all sectors of the University and has conducted a Race Equality Survey for colleagues and one for students. The results have been analysed and we are now working towards key actions that have been identified from these surveys.

We are committed to progressing this agenda together and we will, as part of our Race Equality Charter work, agree on an action plan for the year ahead.  We are also the lead member of the Newcastle Hate Crime and Community Tensions Group which aims to pool local knowledge of hate crime reports, in order to inform education and prevention of hate crimes.

Together with our partners and the higher education sector we are working hard to address issues of racism and hate crime and to ensure that our students and colleagues can have confidence that they study, work and live in a safe, enabling and inclusive environment.

We understand this is a very difficult time for our students and colleagues and together with our Students’ Union, we would like to highlight the ongoing support available, both from the Students’ Union and the University.