Anti-racism, Race Equality and Interculturalism

Public declaration of anti-racism

Scotland’s universities stand united against racism: Universities Scotland has been working closely with Advance HE over recent months as it’s Steering Group on tackling racism, led by Khadija Mohammed, developed a declaration and a programme of activity to support universities and colleges to build a zero-tolerance approach to racial harassment. The project, funded by SFC, aims to develop evidence-based resources to be used by Scottish universities and colleges as they respond to the findings highlighted in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s 2019 report 'Universities Challenged'.

In response to Advance HE’s ‘The Journey from Critical Conversations to Critical Action: We stand united against racism‘ webinar  on Friday 14 August 2020), in which a number of Scottish colleges, universities and public bodies made a public declaration of anti-racism, Universities Scotland Convener Professor Sir Gerry McCormac said:

University of Stirling Principal Gerry McCormac

"I recognise my responsibility as a sector leader and university Principal, to work to eradicate racism in all of its forms and support an anti-racist agenda in higher education. I see the declaration against racism as a milestone in the sector’s journey of increased understanding and action. It is not a time to pause; it is a time for all those with a leadership role in higher education to recognise how far we still have to go and to commit to accelerate our actions. We must continue to take concrete steps to address the systemic issues in higher education that perpetuate inequality and deliver meaningful change so that our students and staff do not fear prejudice and are fully empowered in their place of study or work.

To achieve this, we need to listen, be prepared to do so humbly, and to act. Only then can we create a higher education sector where everyone is able to realise their true potential. I want to thank Khadija and the members of Advance HE’s steering group for the work and the leadership that has led to this declaration and the programme of work that is to be delivered in Scotland’s higher education sector from the autumn onwards. Advance HE’s programme will complement ongoing work within institutions and help to situate race and anti-racism at the centre of Scottish higher education, providing a mechanism for culture change at all levels."

Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice Chancellor, and Universities Scotland Convener 

Anti-Racism and Race Equality Strategy 2022-25

The University recognises its statutory duties in relation to race equality and understands the links between race equality and success. We are committed to ensuring that all staff and students – as part of a positive “Stirling Experience” - can work, study, research and participate in an environment that supports them to succeed. The University recognises its duties as a supportive employer and educator and is committed to identifying and taking steps to address any systemic factors that might prevent members of our community from benefiting equitably from opportunities.

The success of the anti-racism and race equality strategy is dependent upon the creation of a campus environment in which cultural differences are celebrated and embraced by the entire University community, and where a culture of tolerance, empathy and mutual respect are promoted in all aspects of University life. As the University community becomes increasingly diverse and international, this becomes ever more important. The strategy reflects and aligns with the University’s approach to learning and teaching, specifically its commitment to developing inclusive curricula, and is consonant with the University’s position as an internationally oriented, global institution.

Strategy vision

We will develop and nurture a culture and environment that respects the rights and dignity of our diverse community, prevents and tackles racism and racial harassment, and celebrates and enhances the diversity and multi-culturalism of our students and staff, enabling them to thrive and achieve their potential whilst achieving our institutional ambitions.

This relies on the creation of an anti-racist institutional culture which recognises the link between race equality and success, and which enables our community to competently, confidently and constructively challenge racism without stigma or fear.

What we want to achieve

In the pursuit of this vision, we will:

1. Understand: Better understand the lived experience of ethnic minorities and people of colour in our community and understand the impact of our actions.

  • Engage with and listen to ethnic minority staff and students and people of colour to understand their lived experiences.
  • Improve data collection and analysis across all key stages of the student journey and the staff experience.
  • Apply the findings of national research and good practice to our work to address racism and racial inequality.
  • Assess the race equality impact of decisions, policies and activities (via conducting “equality impact assessments”).
  • Evaluate the impact of interventions to tackle and respond to racism and racial inequality.
  • Report regularly on progress to the governing body (University Court).

2. Respect: Build an anti-racist institutional culture where racism is eradicated and diversity respected, by exhibiting strong leadership and building trust through open and honest conversations in our community.

  • Demonstrate committed, inspirational and impactful leadership, whilst simultaneously encouraging, role modelling and rewarding anti-racist leadership behaviours at all levels of the organisation.
  • Build trust with black, Asian and ethnic minority staff/students, ensuring they feel empowered and safe to report incidents and share their experiences.
  • Create safe spaces for constructive discussions about diversity, interculturalism, race, racism, privilege, whiteness and historical injustice, and take steps towards reparative justice where necessary.

3. Prevent: Raise awareness of the nature and impact of racism and racial inequality, and take action to prevent it occurring in our community.

  • Raise awareness, through campaigns, training and constructive conversations - involving staff, students and our governing body - on racial inequality, including concepts such as structural racism, interculturalism, white privilege, white fragility, microaggressions and our shared responsibilities to prevent and tackle racism.
  • Develop and implement guidance and codes of conduct that clarify the responsibilities of all members of our community in respect of preventing and responding to racism, and incorporate our expectations into staff and student inductions and the curriculum.

4. Respond: Ensure robust systems are in place to report and respond to incidents of racism, racial harassment and hate crime, whilst ensuring any member of our community affected by racism is supported.

  • Ensure systems to report racism, racial harassment and hate crime to the University and/or the Police are accessible and well promoted.
  • Provide accessible, effective and culturally aware support services for anyone subjected to racism and racial harassment.
  • Ensure all staff involved in investigations and disciplinary proceedings are trained to understand racism, racial bias and the impact of trauma on a victim of racism[1].
  • Publish data on the number/type of reports and the aggregated outcomes of reports of racism and racial harassment.
  • Develop partnerships and referral routes with local and national specialist support agencies.
  • Collaborate with other institutions, including Forth Valley College and other universities, to optimise our approach to racism.

5. Promote: Promote interculturalism, and celebrate Black, Asian and ethnic minority culture, history and success.

  • Develop and deliver on-campus initiatives and programmes to foster strong intercultural relationships and build good relations between staff and students from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Celebrate examples of black, Asian and ethnic minority culture, history and success.
  • Identify, promote and celebrate good practice in our community to tackle societal racism and racial injustice.

6. Enhance: Identify and address systemic inequalities and barriers to racial equality in our community.

  • Identify and take action to address known inequalities in relation to recruitment, career advancement, promotions, educational attainment, access to services and access to leadership and governance positions.
  • Improve the proportion of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people in leadership and governance positions.
  • Ensure that curricula, pedagogy and assessment methods are inclusive and pay due regard to the global, multi-cultural nature of our student body.


[1] Note this assumes the current model of how we manage investigations remains in place.

Just Ask - Student Support Services team

A range of services available to provide additional support. Students can contact our Student Support Services team, and access the 24/7 Student Support helpline. Colleagues are able to use the University’s Employee Assistance Programme, which is also available 24/7.


CESREC (Central Scotland Regional Equality Council (CSREC)) exists and works to promote equality; fight hate crime and discrimination; foster good relations and build partnerships in the Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council areas. This includes a free and confidential Support and Advice Service

CESREC also provides training for organisations on racism, hate crime and race equality. They are also a Third Party Reporting Centre, where you can anonymously report hate crimes to the Police.

Shakti Women’s Aid

Shakti Women’s Aid helps BME women, children, and young people experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse from a partner, ex-partner, and/ or other members of the household. They work closely with the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, NHS Scotland, and other statutory and voluntary services. They also provide training and consultancy for agencies working with BME women, children, and young people. Based in Edinburgh but they have outreach staff in Stirling.