Durham University has begun to implement the recommendations of the “Report of the Durham Commission on Respect, Values, and Behaviour”, known as the Respect Commission, which was published at the start of this academic year.
The most important updates include the approval of two posts for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Trainers (EDI), as well as two conduct investigator posts. The EDI Trainers will be able to deliver important training to students in order to emphasise respectful and appropriate behaviour in the University environment.
Furthermore, the Durham People of Colour Association (DPOCA) has received EDI funding, and the Student Pledge has been updated and included in University regulations. The Respect Commission is also working to improve the speed with which complaints from both students and staff are being responded to.
The update from the Vice Chancellor details that next steps taken will involve recruitment processes for EDI trainers and a mental health advisor. It promises “continued engagement with students to help inform and shape our initiatives, including through formal membership of working groups and committees and wider conversations on the Race Equality Charter and other EDI matters.”
The email finally highlights the need for continued focus on respectful behaviour, and most importantly collective responsibility, despite the progress already achieved by the Respect Commission: “We all have a role to play in calling out negative behaviours and in ensuring we keep up-to-date with relevant training – for ourselves and our peers – and living our Values.”
The Respect Commission was established in October 2018 in a bid to improve the learning and living culture at Durham University.
Image: Adeline Zhao