Murray Edwards College is opposed to all forms of racism and all other forms of discrimination. Our focus is on creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. We are committed to tackling racial prejudice and inequality, and we will keep listening and learning so that we can contribute to meaningful change across society.
During the academic year 2019/20, we ran various programmes across the College community and we plan to do more moving forward:
- The JCR ran a programme for all Freshers around inclusion and on how to understand personal biases. The MCR would like to run something similar for the postgraduate community.
- ACAS Training Division ran workshops on Equality and Diversity for all staff.
- We ran a series of diversity sessions (including unconscious bias training) for all staff and a number of Fellows. These were led by a Bye-Fellow on secondment to the College from the Home Office (where he is Diversity Lead).
- The College President convened a meeting of Heads of House to see how we could set up a short face-to-face training programme on race awareness, which would be suitable for staff and Fellows. This is being taken forward by the Colleges HR Managers Group.
Race and Ethnicity Working Group
We have a Race and Ethnicity Working Group, which includes student representation. The purpose of this group is to continue the College’s development in providing and inclusive environment for all, and to recommend areas for further action. In addition, the group aims to encourage improvement in the inclusivity of the wider University.
Race Equality Fellow
We have a Race Equality Fellow, Dr Evaleila Pesaran, who oversees the engagement of students, Fellows and staff in all matters relating to race in College, acting as a point of contact between these groups and the College. She sits on the College’s Race and Ethnicity Working Group, and works closely with the JCR and MCR BAME officers to ensure their voices are heard.
We have a multi-faith spiritual room in Paula Browne House, just off the main walkway. You can book up to one-hour slots on the Room Management System. There is a lavatory and hand-held shower (for ablutions) next door to the room. It is a shoe-free zone with space for you to leave your shoes just inside door.
The space is welcome for any and all to use, whether for prayer or quiet reflection.
Following student requests, we are planning for a series of talks on intersectionality covering topics such as black feminist thought, and transgender people and religion.
Social and cultural events
Students have been keen to hold events relating to different cultures and religions. The following events were held during the 2019/20 academic year:
- An International Day (with Formal Hall), including music and dancing
- Diwali Formal Hall
- A Chinese New Year party for Chinese students at the President’s Lodge
In previous years, we organised Iftar during Ramadan for Muslim members of our College community. Unfortunately, Iftar at College was cancelled in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The College has three outreach areas: Haringey, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire. The President (and the Admissions Team) is always keen to visit schools in these areas with the aim of making it clear that Cambridge is welcoming to students from all backgrounds, including BAME students.
New Hall Art Collection
The New Hall Art Collection has collaborated with artists, funding organisations, academics and museum professionals to highlight inequalities around race and gender. Our work has included a symposium reviewing the representation of BAME artists within collections, artist-led workshops for students identifying as women of colour, and research into the representation of women artists in the Hong Kong art world.
We are committed to continuing to listen and learn from artists from all backgrounds, and to ensuring that race and equality play a central role within our governance, in the development of the Collection, and all our future programming.