Equality and Diversity Policy

The University of Sussex Students' Union ('the Students' Union') is committed to equality of opportunity for all. We demonstrate this by taking a pro-active and inclusive approach to equality, supporting and encouraging all under-represented groups, and promoting an inclusive culture which values diversity.

1.0 Introduction

The Students' Union is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive environment where everyone is treated equally and with respect. We commit ourselves to promoting equal opportunities as an employer, as a representative and campaigning body, and as a provider of services. We will not tolerate any form of discrimination including harassment and bullying based on one or more of the following grounds or any other irrelevant distinction:

Age, ability or disability, ethnic origin, caring or parental responsibilities, pregnancy, gender assignment/ identity/ presentation, HIV status, marital status, nationality, faith, physical appearance, race, sexual orientation, spent or irrelevant criminal convictions, trade union affiliation, employment status, socio- economic background, medical condition, full or part time student status, mental health status or other irrelevant distinction.

This list is not exhaustive but illustrates our commitment in regarding such discrimination as unacceptable.

In addition to promoting an inclusive culture for all by providing equality of opportunity, the Students' Union also recognises the value of difference and is committed to enhancing diversity by recognising, respecting and valuing different identities, perspectives and backgrounds.

1.1 General principles

This policy reflects the Students' Union's core values and exists to:

  1. Ensure that the Students' Union carries out its activities within a framework that respects and promotes equal opportunities, and alongside legislative requirements.
  2. Ensure that the Students' Union is pro-active in promoting equality of opportunity.
  3. Make explicit the rights and responsibilities of all members (i.e. students).
  4. Commit the the Students' Union to monitoring the implementation of this policy and the evaluation of its effectiveness.

1.2 Our commitment

  1. The Students' Union works proactively to involve members in its activities who are typically under-represented or marginalized within society.
  2. The Students' Union is committed to providing a working and learning environment in compliance with all relevant legislation. This policy will be amended as appropriate to meet the demands of future legislation. This Union's policy is guided by all current and relevant legislation. See appendix for details of relevant legislation.
  3. The Students' Union with the University and other relevant bodies to promote its equality and diversity policy, and to ensure that both the Union and the University are actively working to comply with policy on equality and diversity.
  4. Any groups or individuals contravening this equality and diversity policy will be subject to disciplinary procedures and patronage and support will be reviewed.
  5. The Students' Union will regularly monitor practices to ensure that we meet our commitment to equality and diversity. See also section 3.
  6. The Students' Union's procedures apply to all aspects of our activity, including USSU Trading Ltd, advertising and media and all forms of documentation. It will apply to all those involved in the Students' Union, including members, staff, visitors, clients, contractors, consultants, partners, customers, and potential as well as existing employees.

2.0 Policy implementation

2.1 Responsibility

  1. Overall responsibility for implementation of this policy lies with the President and Chief Executive.
  2. It is the responsibility of every Line Manager to implement the policy and ensure staff and volunteers in their area are aware of, and comply with this policy.
  3. All elected officers, members of USSU staff and volunteers are responsible for their own behaviour and should strive to ensure equality and diversity best practice within their remit.
    They may be held personally accountable should any complaint arise against them (see section 5).
  4. All elected officers, members of Students' Union staff and volunteers are responsible for taking appropriate action to ensure that personal harassment of another member of staff or a student does not occur, and to challenge or report any incidences they might see.
  5. All Students' Union members are responsible for their own behaviour and should strive to respect and demonstrate equal opportunities principles.
  6. If you have any questions about the content or application of this policy, you should contact the Head of Campaigns and Representation to request training or further information.

2.2 Provision

  1. The Students' Union understands that the needs of different groups vary and will therefore strive to provide according to need, which in some cases will result in different provisions.
  2. The Students' Union recognises the need for liberation groups (Black and Minority Ethnic, Women and LGBTQ+, members for example) to have a 'safe space' and provides rooms for this purpose. The Students' Union commits to creating a room for students with disabilities, and trans and non binary students in Falmer House, and in the new Students Union building in 2020.
  3. The Students' Union is committed to making our service provision accessible to all members. We will monitor the physical features of our premises to consider whether they place disabled workers, job applicants or members at a substantial disadvantage. Where reasonable, we will take steps to improve access for disabled staff and members. Where facilities are inaccessible, we will endeavour to find alternative space for meetings and events in order not to exclude any interested party. Any alterations to and/or development of the Union building shall occur with improving access as a priority.

2.3 Employment and elections

  1. The Students' Union commits itself to being an equal opportunities employer and a democratic body. It works to eliminate unfair discrimination at each stage of the recruitment/election process and throughout an individual's period of employment/term of office.
  2. Our recruitment procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. We also take steps to ensure that our vacancies are advertised to a diverse labour market. To ensure that this policy is operating effectively, and to identify groups that may be underrepresented or disadvantaged in our organisation, we monitor applicants' ethnic group, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion and age as part of the recruitment procedure. Provision of this information is voluntary and it will not adversely affect an individual's chances of recruitment or any other decision related to their employment.

2.4 Training

  1. All staff, elected officers, Councillors and volunteers will receive equality and diversity training.
  2. All staff and elected officers must be fully aware of the equality and diversity policy and its strategy for implementation.

3.0 Monitoring & review

  1. The full time officers and Chief Executive will be responsible for monitoring the day-to-day implementation of the policy.
  2. There will be an advisory sub-committee of Council, called the Equality & Diversity Steering Group, which will consist officers and staff as outlined in its terms of reference.

    The policy will be annually reviewed by members of the steering group and passed to council for approval. The steering group will meet every term to assess and assist with implementation and act as advisors to the annual review. This steering group will also be responsible for instigating the reviewing of the policy in view of future legislative change. This steering group will contact relevant people and organisations to ascertain their comments on Union policy and practice and how Union members and staff from under-represented and marginalised groups:

    1. Could participate more fully in the policy making and activities of the Union and Company
    2. Would want to see Union and Company services to them improved.
  3. Council will be responsible for organising an annual review of the policy, its implementation and effect. The annual review will report on the development and implementation of the policy. It will also create an action plan containing explicit, measurable and achievable objectives and targets.
  4. The annual report will be made public to:
    1. All staff
    2. All members, through email and at relevant meetings
    3. Copies will also be available from the Union website

4.0 Promotion & publicity

  1. The Students' Union will ensure that all members, staff (including staff of USSU Trading Ltd), and volunteers are aware of the Union's commitment to equality and diversity and that they are expected to promote its objectives.
  2. This policy shall be made available to all members, staff, sports clubs and societies as a requirement that they actively counter prejudice and discrimination and demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity policies and practice.
  3. Notices stating that the Students' Union/USSU Trading Ltd will not tolerate behaviour which contravenes the equality and diversity policy shall be displayed throughout our services and outlets.

5.0 Complaints procedure

  1. If any (potential or existing) Students' Union member, employee or volunteer feels they have not been treated in accordance with this policy, they have the right and are encouraged to make a complaint. All complaints made in good faith are free of retribution.
  2. All complaints will be handled with consideration to both sides and with the utmost confidentiality.
  3. Complaints can be made through the Students' Union complaints procedure, which can be viewed at sussexstudent.com/make-a-complaint/


Relevant legislation

This Union's policy is guided by: The Equality Act 2010

Related Policies

Relevant Procedures

Relevant web links

University of Sussex Students Union website sussexstudent.com

University of Sussex Equalities website sussex.ac.uk/equalities/

NUS's How to Create your Equality and Diversity Policy

Relevant contact details

USSU Welfare Officer [email protected] / 01273 87 8155

USSU President [email protected] / 01273 87 3350

USSU Chief Executive [email protected] / 01273 67 8588

USSU Head of Campaigns and Representation [email protected] / 01273 87 2545

This policy is accessible through the Students' Union website at sussexstudent.com

Date approved: 04 May 2006

Amended: February 2017