Black Lives Matter and the Faculty of Science of Engineering
A message from Professor Paul Mativenga, Vice Dean of Social Responsibility, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Access, and member of the Faculty Leadership Team:
I strongly condemn the tragic actions committed in the United States of America which resulted in the dehumanisation and horrific death of George Floyd; I also recognise the importance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the ongoing campaign for equality and social justice.
On 8 June Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice President for Social Responsibility here at The University of Manchester, released a statement about the BLM movement and I want to take this opportunity to share my own reflections.
This whole issue profoundly resonates with me as a black man, a brother, a parent, an academic leader, as the Vice Dean responsible for Equality, Diversion, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Faculty, and as a citizen of the world. The death of George Floyd has shaken me to the core and taken me on an educational journey, learning more about the history of slavery and the plight of black people around the world today. It has made me realise that as a black person there are few places I would rather live and work than the UK and the cosmopolitan city of Manchester.
At the University we continue to progress a number of race equality initiatives and Professor Thakkar’s statement set out some of the important progress which has been made to date, but there is still more that we can and must do.
I welcome the University’s ‘responsible processes’ which were put in place to support equality and diversity. I also welcome the important engagement activity across the Faculty to link our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to existing staff networks such as the Black Asian Minority Ethnic Staff Network. I know we still need to do more to engage students in this work and this is something that I am looking to progress.
Racism and discrimination have no place in our Faculty. Our entire community of staff, students, visitors and partners have a right to expect to be treated fairly and without prejudice, whilst working in a safe, secure and fulfilling environment. This is one of the reasons why we have a statement of expectations for equality and diversity in the Faculty.
- We will uphold the highest standards of propriety in accordance with the principles of public life; Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.
- We expect all members of the University community to treat each other with respect and kind consideration.
- We expect all members of the Faculty to foster and respect equality and diversity (including diversity of thought) within an inclusive culture, physical environment and curriculum including participation in Higher Education.
- We do not tolerate harassment, bullying or discrimination.
- We will uphold dignity in study and at work.
For me the BLM movement has provided a necessary call to those people around the world who, consciously or subconsciously, practice discrimination in any form. I hope we can work together to provide the same standard of justice, health equality and access to opportunity enabling us all to realise our potential.
Paul Mativenga – Vice Dean for SR and EDI (FSE) June 2020
This statement is wholly endorsed and has the full support of the Faculty Leadership Team