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Equity Review Findings and Next Steps

Tēnā koe,

In October and November 2020 SLT endorsed Te Waka Pākākano | the Office of the AVC Māori, Pasifika and Equity to conduct research to inform a complete Equity Review. The aim of the review was to examine equity, diversity and inclusiveness in the University of Canterbury (UC) context, with a Tiriti o Waitangi-centred and intersectional approach.

We wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank all who participated in the review, particularly those who shared their lived experiences.

The report has now been presented to Council and shared with participants. The results (summarised below) identify the importance of breadth of focus across the University.

Findings

The Equity Review draws attention to the challenges the university faces in defining equity, diversity and inclusiveness and in delivering commitments into meaningful outcomes for underserved[1] communities. These communities include, but are not limited to Māori, Pacific, Rainbow, people with long-term disabilities (physical and mental health-related), people of faith, migrants, people of refugee background and women.

Qualitative research data was collected to inform the review through semi-structured interviews with targeted groups of students and staff. This was supplemented with an anonymous online questionnaire, which was distributed to gather broader UC student and staff input. Approximately 700 responses were received online and in excess of 80 in-person interviews as part of this process.

Findings highlight confusion about the meaning of equity in the UC context and it is clear that the implementation of the Equity and Diversity Plan, policy and aspirations were not met in full, as a result of this lack of clarity. Many research participants reported experiencing various forms of discrimination in the University. Others talked about the ongoing reproduction of structures of privilege. Many participants from non-marginalised groups denied or were unaware of the reality of marginalisation for others, and voiced concerns that acknowledging diversity could cause a reduction of teaching and learning standards or even threaten the value of the dominant culture.

It is encouraging that despite the significant challenges identified in the feedback, students and staff recognised the valuable equity work already under way across the University. This included the development and implementation of UC Values, Takere Māori and Pacific Academy and the Kia Angitu Student Success Framework. These developments demonstrate UC’s commitment to providing equitable access for Māori, Pacific, first in family, those from low-decile schools, and students with disabilities as they enter tertiary education.

In particular, focus on a strengths-based approach and research-based evidence drive action to meet UC’s aspirations for equity. It was also clear in participants’ feedback that research without committed leadership and an improved organisational culture would not lead to meaningful change.

[1] The term ‘underserved’ is used in the review report to refer to individuals, groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.

What’s our response?

In response to the Equity Review findings, an Equity Response Plan is being developed to determine how UC will achieve positive change. The approach will be phased, prioritising short, medium, and long-term strategies and tactics. The Equity Response Plan will be finalised and circulated later in 2021.

This is a step in our journey to creating an equitable community, and we are committed to continuing to engage in conversations that facilitate this. We welcome your feedback and ideas on the response to the review via email to equity@canterbury.ac.nz.

There are actions we can take even as we establish a meaningful implementation response. The first step is to define a shared understanding of equity, which is pivotal in achieving meaningful outcomes to this work. While the workshops and response planning phase take place, we will also refine and confirm a definition that is concise and specific to UC’s aspirations for equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.

As a student at UC, what can I do now?

At UC there are lots of opportunities to get involved and connect with people from diverse backgrounds and who have different experiences. Whether you want to play sport, attend social events, join a student club or explore our vibrant city, you’ll find heaps of opportunities to support your personal journey in building awareness and understanding of equity. A good place to start is to check out the Tūhura |Explore Student Handbook, which shows you heaps of ways that you can make the most of uni-life and experience something other than your status-quo.

Make the most of the amazing support services around campus that can help you on your journey:

You can also find additional resources and support services in the community:

  • Need To Talk: 1737 (free text or phone)
  •  Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Nāhaku noa, nā
Dr Darryn Russell and the Equity Reference Group

 

A MESSAGE FROM CCC | UPCOMING RICCARTON ROAD WORK

We’re about to start work on Riccarton Road replacing old underground water and sewer pipes between Matipo Street and Hansons Lane. This work is due to start early July, but potholing for services is currently underway.

Riccarton Road will stay open while our contractor Fulton Hogan does the work, but there will be delays. This project is expected to continue until March 2022.

There’s also several other projects planned in the Riccarton area between June to November 2021. See below images for works underway in June/July and keep up to date about what’s planned at www.ccc.govt.nz/riccarton

It’s time to ‘Fall back’, check you’re emergency ready

Daylight saving’s as good of a time as any to take a moment to make sure you’re all set in case of an emergency. Check you’re prepared:

  • Have you saved UC Security’s number in your phone?

UC Security staff are on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so no matter when you might need to get in touch, someone will always be there to help. Be prepared by having UC Security’s number saved: 0800 823 637.

  • Are your UCGO push notifications turned on?

The UCGO app brings essential UC tools to your phone. One of these tools is emergency push notifications, as you experienced on Thursday. If you didn’t receive a notification that means you need to head to your settings and get them switched on for the app. Push notifications are only used when there is a campus wide emergency we need you to know about, and could include campus evacuations and lock-down situations.

  • Have you updated your emergency contacts?

TŪ KI TE TAHI Keep your emergency contact details updated – go to People Soft to check your information is correct. Instructions are available here>

INSIDERS It’s easy to update your details through myUC. Please take a moment to jump in there to check that the person you’ve listed as your emergency contact is still appropriate, and that their details are correct. While you’re logged in to myUC you can also check that your own details are up-to-date. Make sure these details are correct (especially if you’ve moved recently) in case someone from UC needs to reach out to you.

  • Do you know where the Emergency Procedures are located around your lectures? 

All departments have an Emergency Procedures flip chart outlining what to do in various types of emergencies. The flip charts are on display throughout the University. If you have not seen the flip charts, ask where they are or view the PDF file versions of each page here.

  • Remember: No smoking or vaping on campus

UC is a smokefree campus, meaning you cannot smoke cigarettes or vape on campus grounds, in or near any UC buildings or at any field stations. By respecting the smokefree policy we can all enjoy a healthier place to study, work, socialise and live.

  • Help point towers

There are 13 help towers located across campus to provide information any time, and immediate assistance in an emergency. Read more>

The best place to go with all up to date information about UC’s Commitment to Health, Safety and Wellbeing is online here.