Equality & Diversity Champions

Equality & Diversity

Equality & Diversity Champions

Our aim is to have at least ONE equality champion representing each protected characteristics group. Equality Champions provide a voice of the lived experience of our staff and act as a visible role model for a particular equality strand across the university.

The role of the Equality Champion as described within RGU’s Equality and Diversity policy is to:

  • Contribute and respectfully challenge the Equality and Diversity Forum in the equality strand being championed
  • Seek the engagement of staff and where appropriate, students in the work and activities of the Equality & Diversity Sub-Committee
  • Provide leadership in the University in the area championed
  • Keep up to date on developments in the area championed
  • Actively contribute to the implementation of the Equality and Diversity equality outcomes.

How you can get involved

RGU appoints Equality Champions for each of the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and is now looking to recruit volunteers to fill the currently vacant positions. These roles are open to all RGU staff in FTE.

Our purpose is to be an innovative, inclusive, impactful, and professionally-focused university, and you can support this effort to foster a culture of engagement, empowerment, and community through an Equality Champion role.

To find out more about applying to be an Equality Champion, please contact Emmanuel Akerele, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser.

Current Equality & Diversity Champions

Equality Champion - Age

"I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1989, having trained at The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. My career in the NHS afforded me opportunities to work with and care for people from multiple backgrounds, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, and age across the UK. As a newly qualified nurse I very clearly remember a patient questioning my word and ability, asking me” what did I know at my age”? I was junior, yes, relatively inexperienced, but I was qualified, I was trained, and, on this occasion, I was right. Now in my 50s am I perhaps beginning to see my word, my ability, my thinking questioned because of my older age? Perhaps not in such blatant terms, perhaps its more subtle but I do feel it might not be long before it is more obvious. Intergenerational living and working is part of us all.

Age discrimination policy often has deliberative focus on age equality for the elderly – and of course this is essential in today’s world. However, discreet age discrimination of the young is felt by many, where worth and ability are judged by age. As an equality champion for Age, I welcome the opportunity to work with and for the entire RGU family – whatever your age – your job, staff or students and hope to ensure our university remains driven to create equity for us all."

Equality Champion - DISABILITY

Lisa Logie, Occupational Health and Safety Adviser

"As a chartered safety practitioner, I have always been committed to ensuring that workplaces can be, and remain, inclusive and accessible for all. I really enjoy working with people and helping to find ways to make reasonable adjustments to ensure accessibility in the workplace and the wider community through ensuring a person -first approach. I have only been with RGU for 12 months but when the opportunity to become an equality champion for disability came up, I was keen to apply for the position. I am also a parent of a 7-year-old boy with autism, and have spent the last few years learning about inclusion and how to make adjustments to ensure that as a family we can enjoy taking part in activities. I am hopeful that by acting as an initial point of contact I can support any pre-existing networks or groups and help to improve communication across the university for staff, students or visitors with disabilities."

EQUALITY CHAMPION - Gender reassignment

"I believe that everyone should have the freedom to express their gender identity while feeling safe and valued in society. I am therefore privileged to take on this position with RGU as an ally to trans and non-binary people, as well as those exploring their gender identity. Ultimately, I believe university should be a positive space for individuals to explore and develop their authentic selves.

I am committed to advocating for equality and diversity in my day-to-day life and helping improve attitudes and challenge assumptions, so I am excited to be able to offer my services as a supportive representative and advocate for the trans community at RGU. My aspiration for the role is to consult, involve, and inform staff and students about trans equality, helping RGU be more inclusive and work toward equality."

Equality Champion - Faith and Belief

"I led the establishment of a faith-based organisation in the South-East of Scotland which has thrived in the past 13 years and provides support for all peoples in the city as well as engage in other charitable activities including providing food for the homeless and less privileged in the society. As someone with a strong background in faith and belief, I am keen to see a university community that embraces the diversity of belief systems and ensures that no one feels disadvantaged or discriminated against because of their faith and belief.

I hope to work with both staff, students, and external organisations to create awareness and promote faith and belief equality as well as influence policies within the University that impact on faith and belief."

Equality Champion - Sex

"Both my research and teaching engage with issues of identity, sex and women’s place in the world. As a feminist I believe that ‘the personal is political’ and that each one of us can contribute to the achievement of equality, both in the university and in the wider world. My research and teaching focus on the study of women’s political expression, from the Scottish suffragettes to modern women’s discussion of politics online. Therefore the opportunity not just to study the fight for equal rights but also to contribute to its achievement in the real world is an exciting one. I am particularly pleased to be able to work with my equality champion colleagues, the Student Union and the RGU Women’s Network in order to ensure that the university continues to work towards equality."

Equality Champion - Sexual Orientation

"I’m not sure I ever wanted to become an equality champion, however the then Convenor of the Equality & Diversity Advisory Group approached me to become the champion for sexual orientation because he knew I was out and proud in the workplace. It seems odd saying that, perhaps even a little on the militant side. But when you start a job in any new workplace it is really very notable that people assume you have a partner or spouse of the opposite sex to you. At that point you have a choice to make correct individual’s assumptions or let it go. It’s hard to explain but coming out takes courage and if by having an equality champion for sexual orientation it makes it easier for people to have that courage and for others to question their assumptions then that must be a good thing.

"My aspiration in this role is to have some of the equality strands, such as sexual orientation, treated alongside and as seriously as others. We know that disability, ethnicity and gender are all key determinants in how individuals learn, assimilate knowledge and relate to others. This is as equally true about sexual orientation but I don’t think we as comfortable recognising that. It is a reality, sometimes sadly so other times joyously so, that the fact I am a gay man means I relate to people, social constructs, even a curriculum in ways which are different from heterosexual men or women. I wish to ensure as far as possible that education outcomes for students are maximised irrespective of sexual orientation and that all staff have an opportunity to share what I have been told in the past is my “private life” – in other words that my partner’s name is Neil."

Equality Champion - Race

"I’m a course leader in the School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences and it’s my pleasure to be championing equity, celebrating diversity, and encouraging wider inclusion at RGU.

My equality role sits within the race strand, and I’m delighted to see that everyone at RGU can get involved, have a voice, and work collaboratively, whether staff or student on any aspect of EDI. This includes the coming together of equality champions across all the strands as we understand the importance and value of considering intersectionality.

As a course leader, experienced in inclusive curricula design & delivery, I hope to continue to work with wonderful colleagues and students across RGU to bring about greater diversity in curricula content, nurture a sense of belonging for those with less widely heard voices and to collaboratively address inequality data such as awarding gaps across our courses.

My mixed heritage background of being half Persian and half English, married to an Egyptian, proud of his African roots and living in this beautiful part of Scotland with our young children, has afforded me a unique perspective and understanding of different views, lived experiences and needs of diverse people. I’m proud to be working with kind, dedicated colleagues who are passionate about the student experience, supporting each other and celebrating diversity!

If YOU are also passionate about EDI and would like to share ideas on what we can do better at RGU or if you’re interested in decolonising the curriculum, or even if you’re curious & would like to learn more about being an ally or have ideas about championing EDI in your own corner of RGU, please do reach out!

We are all in this wonderful journey together."

Equality Champion - Marriage and Civil Partnership

  • Post vacant

Equality Champion - Pregnancy and Maternity

Erica Duncan, Alumni Engagement Officer, Centre for Employability and Community Engagement

"My job is incredibly important to me – that I am earning, and I am fulfilled – but my three children are the most important thing in the world, and I have a duty and a desire to be around to raise them. I’m sure I echo the sentiments of many working parents when I say this. 

 In the past, I have been made redundant on maternity leave, discriminated against based on my personal circumstances, and been too scared to ask about flexible or part-time working at interview stage in case I don’t get offered the role. I have been overlooked for opportunities when I’ve been part-time and have not been considered as valuable or as worth investing in as a full-time member of staff. 

Since coming to RGU, I’m happy to say that my experience during my third pregnancy and subsequent maternity leave was great, but there is always work to be done to ensure that pregnant and expecting women as well as those with caring commitments are treated equally. I hope I can contribute positively to the equality network during my tenure and make a lasting difference."

Student Equality Champions

The RGU:Union has a number of equality champions representing a number of protected characteristics including sexual orientation, gender identity, race, women, disability, mature students, postgraduate, mental health.

If you want to get in touch with one of the equality champions, email hello@rguunion.co.uk

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