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University declares its commitment to DMUfreedom for all

A commitment to challenging convention will see De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) launch a new and vibrant way of ensuring everyone on campus can share in the same ideals and ambitions – DMU freedom.

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The university has ripped up the rule book when it comes to creating an equality and diversity strategy by coming up with a fresh approach to encouraging all students and staff to put inclusivity at the heart of everything they do at DMU.

Rather than be swamped with reams of text, DMUfreedom takes the form of a booklet to be distributed to every student, academic and member of staff, that contains clear and easily understood pointers to how the DMU community can progress together.

It lays out the university’s aspirations and conviction that it can - and should - lead on fairness and inclusion in the higher education sector.

DMUfreedom, which is being launched by Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard this Wednesday, is based around three basic but hugely significant values that give the charter its name – that is, that everyone should have the freedom to be, the freedom to inspire and the freedom to succeed.

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There are also nine game-changers to make DMUfreedom “a force for good” to help students and staff “challenge convention where it constrains genuine progress”.

This includes a drive for thousands of students and staff to sign up to Stonewall’s #NoBystanders campaign to end bullying and discrimination. People who sign up to the campaign pledge to empower each other to challenge all kinds of bullying wherever they can. DMU’s Chancellor Baroness Doreen Lawrence showed her support by signing-up to the campaign during her investiture ceremony in January this year and people attending the launch will be able to do the same.

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Other notable game-changers are a pledge to hold a regular “parliament” to discuss issues that affect all students and staff, training students to take part in the recruitment of staff whose roles have a direct influence on their university life and challenge community leaders across Leicester to be ambassadors for inclusion.

Finally there are three equality objectives to ensure:

  • progress and achievement is equal for all
  • DMU is ranked among the top 25 per cent of universities for equality
  • that all staff agree at least one objective during their appraisals to promote equality.

DMU Pro-Vice Chancellor James Gardner, who led the DMUfreedom project, said: “

“The objective of DMUfreedom is very simple – that we produce a clear and proud declaration of our commitment to making inclusivity the beating heart of our campus.

“DMUfreedom will help guide us towards a better understanding of how we can all be part of a vibrant unified community that, at the same time, is free to share and celebrate our differences.”

On the same day that DMUfreedom is launched, Professor Shellard will also announce the start of the Square Mile Refugee Support Project.  Students have been working with After18, a charity that supports unaccompanied young people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. Since then eight Square Mile Refugee Support Project students have been providing one-to-one academic support based on their individual degrees to mentor refugees. Professor Shellard will announce plans to increase support in IT skills and paired reading support to improve refugees’ English language skills.

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As part of Wednesday’s launch there will be a talk by Paralympic gold medallist Marc Woods who will describe how he faced and overcame adversity on his ‘Path to Gold’.

There will also be conversation boards so students and staff can have their say about what changes should be introduced at DMU and in the local community as a result of DMUfreedom.

The launch will take place on Wednesday 16 March between 12-2pm in the Hugh Aston Atrium.

Posted on Tuesday 15th March 2016

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