De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has become one of just eight universities in the UK to win an award for advancing race equality in higher education.equality-mark-insetDMU is among the first institutions to be recognised with the Race Equality Charter by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU). The new award has been created to tackle inequality in higher education after figures shows that not enough students, academics and professional staff from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds work or study in the UK’s universities.DMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard said: "I am immensely proud that DMU is one of just eight UK universities to be recognised by the Race Equality Charter. At DMU, we actively celebrate all the voices in our community. There is no place for discrimination within higher education or indeed, anywhere. We are fortunate to be based in one of the UK's most diverse cities and our students come from 114 different countries. "This award recognises that DMU’s commitment to equality and diversity is embedded across all aspects of university life and is part of the very fabric of our university community."It challenges universities to come up with ways to improve this and help students and staff from BME backgrounds to reach their full potential. Institutions had to demonstrate their inclusive culture and determination to improve by preparing an action plan to tackle racial equality, as well as identifying any barriers to progression.The award is presented by the Equality Challenge Unit, a charity which is funded by and provides guidance for the higher education sector.It follows a year-long trial of the charter mark programme carried out at 30 universities. Only eight, including DMU, were able to meet the standards for the award. DMU’s head of Equality and Diversity, Christine Nightingale said: "We work hard to provide fair opportunities for all our students and staff. The equality charter is an acknowledgement of the whole university's approach to equality and diversity."
Sarah Dickinson, head of equality charters at the Equality Challenge Unit, said: “It was a privilege to work alongside so many institutions during the pilot year of our Race Equality Charter.
It’s an incredibly exciting initiative and it has been fascinating to see how universities have interacted with it over the course of the trial.
“I’d like to personally congratulate those institutions that have received an award in this round. They have all worked extremely hard and I’m delighted that they are now able to celebrate the fruits of their efforts.”
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