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FGGA statement and action agenda on diversity and inclusiveness

23 July 2020

Faculty Board FGGA
July 2020

We aim to provide a respectful, inspiring and inclusive learning and working environment for all staff and students. Not only do we value diversity and inclusiveness because it is our social responsibility and moral obligation, but also because it contributes to more creativity and innovation. In order to accomplish this FGGA seeks to develop and maintain inclusive spaces for learning, working (teaching and research) and collaboration.

A substantive commitment from staff and students is required to create an internal cultural change, where we uphold anti-racist values and address institutional racism and other forms of exclusion or discrimination as well as their impact on the faculty community (students and staff). To achieve this, we have designed an action agenda with steps to uphold these values in practice. Our agenda is in line with the University’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Work Plan.

By creating official consultative bodies: a taskforce and two sounding board groups, one for students and one for staff, and appointing designated officers: a diversity officer and contact persons, we aim to make inclusiveness and diversity an integral part of our work. The Faculty Board mandates the taskforce, in collaboration with these official consultative bodies and officers, to implement the action agenda, made up of 10 points, and to organise dedicated working groups for each action point. Students and staff are strongly encouraged to participate in these working groups. To register/sign up for one of the working groups and to send in your comments or suggestions, please contact us via diversityoffice@fgga.leidenuniv.nl.

This agenda should be seen as a total package which we will use to prepare for and facilitate the structural and cultural change. The proposed points are clearly defined action points, declaring the Faculty’s long-term commitment to a continued institutionalization of diversity and inclusiveness. The action agenda focusses in particular on addressing anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, queerphobia, etc. The action agenda will be continuously updated to incorporate new developments and insights that benefit the Faculty.

In the FGGA newsletter, the Faculty will be regularly informed about this agenda and the progress of the implementation of each action point. Twice a year, the Faculty Board will discuss the progress with the Faculty Council.

1. Appoint a Diversity Officer for the Faculty

(Recruitment will start after the summer break; appointment to be finalised before the end of the year; in the meantime, a request will be made through the University Diversity Office to temporarily assign an officer to The Hague.)

The Diversity Officer will be embedded within the governance structure of the Faculty and be part of the Faculty Office. The Diversity Officer coordinates and monitors projects that originated from the action agenda, and reports to the Dean. The Diversity Officer works in close cooperation with the contact persons of the Institutes and Centres as well as the Faculty Office. The Diversity Officer also works in close cooperation with, the University Diversity Officer representing the Faculty. The Diversity Officer coordinates the complaints procedure for racism and discrimination.

2. Appoint D&I Contact Persons

(appointment September 2020)

The D&I Contact Persons at each Institute or Centre, such as the WIDER (at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs), are the first persons to approach for matters to do with diversity and inclusiveness, including reporting complaints. They support the Faculty Diversity Officer and help organise (awareness) activities.

3. Provide support to cater to the needs of the Faculty’s underrepresented students and staff

(October 2020)

In addition to the POP-corner at the Campus The Hague, the Faculty will appoint an on call (external) counsellor with relevant expertise to provide support for underrepresented groups of students and staff, such as first generation students and students and staff of colour

4. Strengthen the current code of conduct to better address D&I issues

(To be established before 1 November 2020)

The aim is to strengthen the current code of conduct to increase its impact by making it more specific and applicable.

The current code of conduct of the FGGA underlines the University’s motto ‘Praesidium Libertatis’, or ‘Bastion of liberty’, and the key principle is ‘freedom of expression’ within the following guidelines of conduct:

  • A pro-active attitude aimed at interaction and co-operation
  • Respect for all members of our community and for the environment we share (see below)
  • Mutual acceptance, regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, gender, faith, sexual preference or physical disabilities
  • Mutual trust and confidence in the good qualities of all people
  • Innovation: an inquisitive, open attitude
  • Integrity: handling of data and information with due care.

A separate chapter of the code of conduct will provide guidelines for our community on how to behave on social media (a social media code).

5. Implement a faculty complaint procedure for D&I

(To be implemented before 1 November 2020. In the meantime, we will provide a clear overview of what is already in place to handle complaints and we will communicate who will be the first point of contact in case of a complaint)

An easy-to-find, clear and appropriate procedure will be put in place in which all steps are described: reporting incidents, filing complaints, handling of complaints, escalation to university ombudsperson/mediator. The procedure will adhere to the University’s Rules & Regulations and provide clarity on disciplinary procedures and will be communicated within the faculty community to assure that accountability is known to everyone.

6. Start an anti-racism/D&I awareness campaign for all students and staff

(As of September 2020; in close cooperation with the University Diversity Office)

The campaign will consist of a series of discussions with students and staff to talk about specific themes: anti-racism, gender, finding a job, etc., as well as training sessions and communication tools focusing on various target groups. Activities to demonstrate the Faculty’s pride in our diversity will also be organised.

In addition, the Faculty will host public events and discussions as part of the awareness campaign. The Faculty intends to build coalitions, cooperating with specific organisations in The Hague/the region to strengthen its own D&I ambitions within its actual environment.

7. Diversify our curricula

(Starts immediately after the summer break; to be finalised before the end of academic year 2020-21)

To create an inclusive learning environment, other approaches and perspectives will have to be included in the courses. Students and staff will be taught where to find more diverse literature. If a specific approach is chosen for a particular course, for instance a Dutch or Eurocentric approach, the choice will have to be motivated. Programme and course (learning) objectives will be revaluated, focusing on how D&I can be included in terms of skills, case studies, concepts, methods, assignments, etc.

8. Implement a more inclusive recruitment and selection strategy for staff

(Starts immediately after the summer break; in close cooperation with University HRM department; implementation before the end of 2020)

An inclusive environment includes hiring staff from different parts in the world, including the Global South and/or whose research and teaching focuses the Global South, to which end a more inclusive recruitment and selection strategy for staff will be put in place.

9. Commit to a more inclusive recruitment and retention strategy for students

(Starts immediately after the summer break; to be put in place before start recruitment academic year 2021-22)

The Faculty also commits itself to a more inclusive recruitment and retention strategy for students.

Various groups of students will be targeted, such as: students of colour, first generation students, students with disabilities, and other groups.

10. Pay attention to classroom behaviour

(During the academic year 2020-21)

Teaching staff will pay explicit attention to inclusiveness and diversity within the educational programmes, focusing on how to interact with each other in a respectful manner in class and how to deal with discriminative comments during class.

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