I met with trans and non-binary students and staff last Friday and we discussed the Reindorf Review, the publication of the Report (.pdf) and the actions (.pdf) agreed by Senate and Council in response to the recommendations in the Review, and the impact they have had on both the trans and non-binary community and the wider Essex community. In the meeting we discussed how hurt people feel about the outcome and the very negative impact that this has had and continues to have on trans and non-binary staff and students.
I am committed to ensuring that everyone is made to feel welcome at the University and we discussed a range of actions that we can take to ensure that this is the case. I want to restate the importance to me of us continuing to work hard to be a supportive and inclusive community for all our members. In addressing this, there are a number of actions we are taking to rebuild relationships:
We have received other suggestions as to how the University can demonstrate its commitment to our trans and non-binary staff and students. These include: allocating greater funding and resources for mental health services; putting in place a trans and non-binary support group for students facilitated by a trans/non-binary member of staff; identifying a common room/space for trans and non-binary students; encouraging positive action to support and promote greater diversity within leadership and across the University; respecting personal pro-nouns; further developing support and training for staff in leadership positions and across the University; and creating a Working Group to combat transphobia on our campuses. The University Steering Group will consider each of these, so that any new arrangements can be in place no later than the start of the Autumn Term on 7 October 2021.
I have been asked to provide a number of apologies including: to anyone who felt excluded from or affected by the process of contributing to the Review; for the manner in which the Reindorf Report was released, and in particular for the timing of the release at the start of the examination period and for how this has felt during Pride Month; that the Report and the actions agreed by Senate and Council have required considerable time from our students to address the impact on them and on other students and especially students in leadership roles, in a context in which some have not received appropriate training; the public scrutiny this has focused on some of our students; and for any harassment or bullying that has taken place and for anyone having been made to feel unsafe as a result of the Review. I am sincerely sorry for this. We have a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and bullying and I am committed to taking action when needed to ensure that we treat everyone in our community with dignity and respect. I have been asked to make apologies to three students and will do this today, and I will also send an apology to our trans and non-binary staff through the LGBTQ+ staff forum Chair.
Senate and Council have agreed that we will consult with our community to devise and ensure implementation of a strategy for repairing relationships amongst University members and I am committed to ensuring this is what we do. Any ideas for achieving this would be welcome through the firstname.lastname@example.org email or direct to me at email@example.com
Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex
Anthony has been the Vice-Chancellor since 2012 and is a Professor of Politics and International Relations. His research focused on European and British foreign and security policy, and for four years Anthony was the Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union.