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University of Kent Students Union

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Equal Opportunities Policy

Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

1. Purpose and preamble

    1.1 Bath Spa University College Students‟ Union in keeping with the intentions of its

    Constitution and the Equal Opportunities policy of the University, confirms a commitment

    to a comprehensive policy of Equal Opportunities within the Students‟ Union.

    1.2 The Students‟ Union celebrates, promotes and values the diversity brought to its

    workforce and membership by individuals, and believes that the Students‟ Union will

    benefit from engaging membership and staff from a variety of backgrounds, thus allowing

    it to meet the needs of the membership within a diverse society. The Students‟ Union will

    treat all employees and members with respect and dignity, and seek to provide a working

    environment free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

    1.3 From time to time there will be a requirement to update this policy, this will be done at

    least every two years.

    1.4 The Equal Opportunities Policy form an appendix to the constitution and in the event of

    any conflict the constitution is the overriding document of authority.

2. Short Policy Statement for Employees.

    2.1 This policy is to ensure that the University College shows no prejudice or discrimination

    towards particular groups of individuals on the grounds of:

    ? Race.

    ? Gender

    ? Disability

    ? Other

2.2 Race.

    The Students‟ Union believes in equal treatment of all human beings, regardless of their colour, race,

    nationality, birthplace, or religious or political views. It opposes any form of racial discrimination.

2.3 Gender.

    The Students‟ Union will not discriminate on grounds of sex and will provide equality of opportunity

    for both men and women.

2.4 Disability.

    The Students‟ Union will:

    ? not discriminate against disabled persons in recruitment, promotion, training, working

    conditions or dismissal

    ? make reasonable adjustments to working conditions or to the physical working

    environment where that would help overcome the practical effects of a disability

    ? justify any less favourable treatment of a disabled person by showing that the reason for

    such treatment is material to the circumstances of the particular case and substantial.

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Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

2.5 Other.

    The Students‟ Union will provide an environment of sensitivity and tolerance:

    ? To protect freedom of expression as an essential feature of an academic institution.

    ? Towards persons of known criminal record. This is strictly subject to legal requirements

    in general and in relation to people working with children in particular.

    ? To increase knowledge of and encourage positive attitudes towards illness and in

    particular towards AIDS.

    ? To avoid or eradicate prejudice and discrimination with regard to sexual orientation.

    ? To avoid or eradicate prejudice and discrimination with regard to gender assignment

3. Implementation of Policy.

    The Students‟ Union Executive Committee will be responsible for implementation and promotion of

    the Equal Opportunities policy.

    Every report of the EOC will be available for reference in site libraries.

3.1 Discipline.

    The Students‟ Union will take all appropriate action to protect staff, students and visitors from racial abuse or attacks.

3.2 Training.

    All staff, officers and representatives of the Students‟ Union will be given equal opportunities training.

4. Policy Statement.

4.1 Introduction.

    Equal Opportunities are essential for an open and fair society in which social justice is a commonly

    understood and shared goal. In the context of higher education the term „equal opportunities‟ implies

    a range of anti-discriminatory policies and practices covering employment, educational access,

    pedagogy and individual and collective behaviour. The purpose of this Statement is to define the

    general policy of Bath Spa University Students‟ Union with regard to equal opportunities and to

    describe the organisational structure which exists for the maintenance, monitoring and pursuit of

    equal opportunities.

    This Statement of Policy is subject to various legislative requirements concerning discrimination,

    equal opportunities and the disclosure of information, and to the Students‟ Union‟s Constitution.

    The Race Relations Act [1976], and the Sex Discrimination Acts [1975 and 1986] define two forms

    of discrimination:

    ? Direct Discrimination: This consists of treating a person on racial or sexual grounds less

    favourably than others in similar circumstances.

    ? Indirect Discrimination: This arises when particular actions have a disproportionate effect

    to the detriment of a particular racial or sexual group or where a condition or requirement

    cannot be shown to be justifiable irrespective of colour, race, nationality, ethnic origin or

    sex of the person to whom it is applied.

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Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

The Disability Discrimination Act [1996] makes analogous demands to those found in the Race

    Relations Act and the Sex Discrimination Act [1975] in that a person may not be directly or indirectly

    discriminated against because of some disability. However, the Disability Discrimination Act allows

    reasonable discrimination in certain circumstances.

    The Disability Discrimination Act defines “a disability” relatively broadly. A disability is a “physical or

    mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect” on an individual‟s ability to

    carry our normal day-to-day activities. Thus, chronic backache, cancer, blindness, and ME are all

    examples of disabilities in terms of the Act.

    The present Statement of Policy addresses equal opportunity issues in terms of the following

    categories:

    ? General

    ? Education and the Community

    ? Race

    ? Sex

    ? Disability

    ? Other

    ? Organisational Structure

    The implementation and evaluation of Students‟ Union policy is discussed in separate documents

    and reports, issued by Students‟ Union staff, officers and representatives.

4.2 Policy Statements.

    The following policy statements are designed to provide a framework which will direct and inform all

    aspects of Students‟ Union activity. In particular, they seek to provide a point of reference and a set

    of guidelines for employees and students of Bath Spa Students‟ Union n dealing with equal

    opportunities issues in the workplace and the teaching and learning environment.

4.3 General.

    Bath Spa Student Union the promotion of equal opportunities throughout higher education and is

    opposed to any form of direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of colour, race or ethnic

    origin, nationality, birthplace, religion, sex, disability, age, social class and sexual orientation.

    4.4.1 The Students‟ Union is committed to:

    ? Promoting a critical awareness towards, and the free discussion of, equal opportunities

    among its employees and students.

    ? Implementing a policy to meet these commitments.

4.4.1 Race.

    The Students‟ Union, in adhering to the Race Relations Act of 1976, affirms its belief in, and

    commitment to the equal treatment of all persons, regardless of their colour, race, or ethnic origin,

    nationality, birthplace and religious views. It is opposed to any style or expression of racial or related

    discrimination.

    The Students‟ Union is further committed to:

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Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

    ? Promoting understanding of the principles and practices of racial equality in a multi-

    cultural society.

    ? Monitoring and reviewing its practices, procedures and course provision to ensure that

    they are relevant to people of different races and cultures and are not liable to cause

    undue offence. Redressing the effects of racial disadvantage and injustice by

    encouraging the participation of under-represented ethnic groups in the planning, support

    of, delivery and consumption of its courses.

    ? Eliminating racist attitudes, language and imagery in the workplace, the teaching and

    learning environment, and in course materials, except where these expressions and

    materials have an acknowledged educational purpose.

4.4.3 Gender.

    The Students‟ Union will adhere to the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Acts [1975 and 1986].

    The provisions of the Acts apply to both women and men and make it unlawful to discriminate

    against a woman or a man on the grounds of sex or marriage with regard to employment and

    training, and the provision of goods and services to the public.

    The Students‟ Union is further committed to:

    ? Promoting understanding of the principles and practices of sex equality.

    ? Monitoring and reviewing its practices, procedures and course provision to ensure that

    they are free from unwarranted sex or gender bias.

    ? Countering the marginalisation of either women or men, and stereotyping on the basis of

    gender, by encouraging the participation of under-represented sexual groups in the

    planning, support of, delivery and consumption of its courses.

    ? Discouraging and eliminating, sexist attitudes, language and imagery in the workplace,

    the teaching and learning environment and in course materials, except where these

    expressions and materials have an acknowledged educational purpose.

4.4.4 Disability.

    The Students‟ Union will seek to meet its responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act

    (1996).

    In seeking to fulfil this responsibility the Students‟ Union will:

    ? Give full and fair consideration to disabled people applying for jobs, having regard to their

    particular aptitudes and abilities, and the possibility of adjusting any job description or

    physical working environment which would allow an otherwise relevantly strong disabled

    candidate to undertake the post.

    ? Continue, where reasonably possible, the employment of persons who become disabled

    while working for the Students‟ Union by making any necessary, but reasonable,

    adjustments to the physical working environment or job descriptions and arranging

    training for them where appropriate.

    ? Provide for the training of disabled employees to the extent that it is provided to non-

    disabled employees and in addition to provide any training which would allow them to

    overcome any relevant workplace impairment.

    ? Provide for the career development and promotion of disabled employees.

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Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

The Students‟ Union is further committed to:

    ? Promoting understanding and awareness of disabled people in the community through

    training and by addressing this subject in appropriate segments of its course provision

    ? Monitoring and reviewing its practices, courses and general services to ensure that they

    are appropriate for, and accessible to disabled people.

    ? Working against the potential isolation of disabled people by encouraging the

    participation of disabled people in the planning, support of, delivery and consumption of

    its courses.

4.4.5 Other...

    In addition to Race, Gender, and Disability, there are other areas where equal opportunities may be

    a matter for legitimate concern and discussion and which require sensitivity and tolerance of

    approach by employees of the Students‟ Union and its membership.

    The Students‟ Union is committed to extending and developing that sensitivity and tolerance in its

    employment and membership recruitment practices with regard to inter alia:

    ? The avoidance of discrimination in terms of age and particularly with regard to elderly

    persons.

    ? The avoidance of discrimination on the basis of „experience‟, where this term is not

    defined clearly as a criterion of employment or membership requirements.

    ? Knowledge of and attitude towards illness and, in particular, towards AIDS.

    ? The avoidance of discrimination against persons because of their sexual orientation.

    ? The protection of freedom of speech and expression within the terms of the law and the

    spirit of this policy statement as essential features of a healthy Students‟ Union.

    ? The Monitoring of Equal Opportunities.

    ? The Students‟ Union is committed to the monitoring and pursuit of equal opportunities.

    Currently this is carried out by the Equal Opportunities Officer and Membership Services

    Manager reporting to the Executive Committee.

4.4.6 Conclusion: Beyond Structures.

    The Students‟ Union recognises the existence of a larger instrument for the pursuit of equal

    opportunities, namely, its staff and students. It is therefore committed to encouraging the

    involvement of all persons connected with the Students‟ Union in the formulation, development and

    implementation of its equal opportunities policies.

    The Students‟ Union also undertakes to make this Statement of Policy available to all members and

    prospective members of staff and to all students registered for courses

5. Summery of Codes of practice

    ? Clubs and Societies

    ? The conduct and activities of clubs and societies shall be monitored to ensure

    that they are in keeping with the ethos and provision of this policy.

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    Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

? Harassment

    ? The Students‟ Union recognises the right of all individuals to live free from

    harassment and victimisation.

    ? The Students‟ Union will fully support those who have been subject to

    harassment. Perpetrators of harassment may be liable to disciplinary action.

    ? Posters and Publications

    ? All posters and publications displayed or distributed through the Students‟

    Union should include a fair representation of the student body. Care should

    be taken to avoid stereotypical, sexist, racist, ageist, heterosexist or otherwise

    discriminatory images or language. Positive images should be used wherever

    possible.

? Language

    ? The Students‟ Union recognises the role of language in the shaping and

    definition of attitudes and behaviour. As such, the Students‟ Union endorses

    the use of non-discriminatory language in all Students‟ Union literature, and in

    everyday usage whilst on Union premises. This will also apply when the

    Students‟ Union is represented off the premises.

? Developments

    ? Any alterations or new developments to Students‟ Union Premises should be

    made with the requirements of people with special needs in mind, to ensure

    continued/improved ease of access for all.

? Monitoring

    ? The Students‟ Union should investigate procedures to allow the monitoring of

    services and activities within the Union under the provisions of this policy.

    ? Monitoring statistics should be considered by the Executive Committee on an

    annual basis. If there are any indications that members of any group have

    received less favourable treatment than members of others, the situation must

    be investigated and appropriate action taken.

? Complaints

    ? Any complaints of unfair treatment in accordance with this policy should be

    referred to the Students‟ Union President or Equal Opportunities Officer.

    Investigation and appropriate action will be taken as determined by the

    Executive Committee.

    ? An annual report on complaints received should be made available

? General

    ? The Students‟ Union must satisfy itself that all agencies within the Students‟

    Union are operating in accordance with this policy.

    ? All outside organisations which operate with the Union should be made aware

    as to the Students‟ Union‟s Equal Opportunities Policy and Code of Practice,

    and encouraged to act in accordance with them.

    ? The Students‟ Union will continue to be active members of the University

    Equal Opportunities Advisory Group and will campaign to raise awareness on

    equal opportunity issues.

    ? The Students‟ Union will strive to represent the needs of the

    individuals/groups of students through appropriate channels, to the relevant

    bodies, to ensure that their needs are met.

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Equal Opportunities Policy Bath Spa Students‟ Union

6. Appendix.

    The Legal Framework:

    ? The Disability Discrimination Act 1996

    ? The Equal Pay Act 1970

    ? The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

    ? The Race Relations Act 1976

    ? The Sex Discrimination Acts 1975 and 1986

    ? The Data Protection Act 1984

    ? Access to Medical Reports Act 1998

    ? DES, DHSS and Welsh Office, Joint Circular 12/88 (Protection of Children: Disclosure of

    Criminal Background of those with Access to Children)

    ? Reports and Documents of Related Interest

    ? BSUC, Equal Opportunity Policy (1989)

    ? BSUC, Implementing and Evaluating Equal Opportunities (1990)

    ? BSUC, Equal Opportunities: A Strategic Action Plan (1990)

    ? Equal Opportunities Commission, From Policy to Practice: An Equal Opportunities

    Strategy for the 1990‟s (1988)

    ? Williams et al, (Commission for Racial Equality), Words or Deeds: A Review of Equal

    Opportunity Policies in Higher Education (1989)

Approved by: on:

    Implementation Date: 1st July 2005

    Review date: by 1st February 2007

    Person responsible for review: President

    Committee responsible for implementation: Executive Committee Person responsible for interpretation: President

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