Prosecute universities and colleges that flout discrimination law, urges union

Colleges and universities are failing to write race, gender and disability equality schemes and action plans as required by law, according to the sector’s main union.

The University and College Union (UCU) wants to see the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) prosecute organisations that do not comply with the legislation. At present it is only reporting offending employers to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Members of UCU yesterday pledged to name and shame universities and colleges that fail to adhere to their legal duties.

By law all public sector organisations have a legal duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination in race,gender and disability, and to promote equality of opportunity.

However, just eight out of more than 300 colleges in the UK have a black principal, and less than 6% of senior and middle managers are black, according to UCU.

Monitoring conducted in 2006-07 by UCU and the former Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in a sample of fifty colleges revealed that none had managed to fulfil its public sector duty in relation to race.

Sasha Callaghan, president-elect of UCU said: “Non-compliant colleges and universities are breaking the law every day. We have been patient on this until now but it is 18 months since the legislation was put on the statute book – long enough for institutions to act.”

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