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NCI signs anti-racism principles

Dr Jennie Rothwell HEA joins Athena Swan SAT and other NCI staff to mark the signing of Anti-Racism Principles

In September 2022, the HEA published a Race Equality Implementation Plan to advance the work of the HEA’s Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion following the publication of the first National Race Equality Report published in October 2021. A key action in this implementation plan is the development of a statement on race equality and a national conference on race equality, which was launched in March this year, at the first HEA National Race Equality Conference in University of Galway as the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions. These Principles have been developed through careful consultation with higher education stakeholders and the expert advice of the Athena Swan Ireland Intersectionality Working Group.

National College of Ireland recognises that race inequality is an issue in Irish higher education and that racism is a problem in Ireland, including in higher education institutes. Today, NCI signed the Higher Education Authority Principles of Anti-Racism for Higher Education Institutes. 

Dr Jennie Rothwell, Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion HEA, witnessed the formal signing of the document and joined members of the college’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team and other staff as they showed their support for the initiative. She said:
“I’m delighted to be at NCI today, to see their enthusiasm for the HEA’s Anti-Racism Principles for HEIs, and to hear about the practical work they are undertaking to live up to them.” 

Professor Jimmy Hill, Vice President NCI, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said:
“We have a very diverse staff and student body at NCI, whom we value enormously. The diversity of the college community enriches the very fabric of who we are and what we do. Diversity makes NCI stronger, bringing multiple perspectives to learning and decision-making. There is no doubting that embedding anti-racism principles in HEIs will contribute to the creation of a culture of race equality across society in general. We heartily embrace the principles.”

Deirdre McCarthy, EDI and Training Manager said:
“NCI is taking practical steps to developing our understanding of race inequality in order to be able to see and tackle racism, For example, we have recently asked our staff to help us by updating their ethnicity status on the Core HR portal. This information is important for a number of reasons, but most critically, it will allow us to understand and monitor race equality: if you aren’t seen, you can’t be included.”

National College of Ireland endorses the six Principles of Anti-Racism for Irish Higher Education Institutions, as follows: 

  1. Race inequality is an issue in Irish higher education. Racism, although context specific, is a problem in Ireland and racial inequalities are present on a daily basis in our higher education institutions.
  2. Higher education institutions which allow race inequality to exist cannot perform to their full potential. 
  3. Anti-racism policies and initiatives must focus on long-term culture change and on fixing the system, not fixing the individual. 
  4. Racism is not always overt and can manifest itself in everyday interactions, processes, behaviours, etc. (e.g. microaggressions). 
  5. Race inequalities are experienced differently by people from similar and different ethnic backgrounds. 
  6. The complex nature of the intersection of race inequality with other characteristics protected under Irish equality legislation must be taken into account when developing anti-racism actions and policies. 

The promotion of equality and respect of all human rights is integral to the overall purpose of NCI. For further information on our commitment to this, see our EDI section.