The Reporter
Issue 493, 27 October 2003
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New diversity officers will 'promote positive action'

 

Diversity officersThe University of Leeds is leading the way in its response to legislation on equal opportunities, with the appointment of diversity officers in all faculties and services. The part-time posts – filled by staff who gain remission on their hours to carry out the role – will ensure that equality policy and practice are integrated into all areas of the University’s work, including recruitment and student admissions.

Leading role – (l-r front row) Anna Lawson, guide dog Hamlet and Rachel Cowgill, (back) Anna Wellard, Karen Lemm, Gurvinder Virk, Wesley McClendon and Tim Gozzard

Head of the equality unit, Judith Russell said: “The diversity officers won’t be ‘firefighting’, dealing with individual cases or problems, or fighting discrimination. That will remain the remit of the equality unit. Instead, their role will be proactive, promoting positive action.”

Dr Wesley McClendon, diversity officer for LUBS, said: “This is one of the things I feel passionately about, and I believe if you feel that way, you should act on it. It’s about making a contribution to the University community beyond the classroom and beyond your research.”

The officers will sit on equality committees in each faculty and on University-wide working groups developing policy and practice in particular areas, such as race and sexual orientation.

Maintenance fitter Tim Gozzard, the new estates diversity officer, said: “All estates staff were sent on equality training over the summer. It made me want to take the issue a step further, which is why I applied for the post. For me, it’s about basic fairness. If I can help the department and the University to make things better, then that’s great.”

Teaching fellow Karen Lemm from performance, visual arts and communications said: “My research is in the area of gender and society, so this new role will enable me to put some of my scholarly ideas into practice. Much has been achieved already at the University on these issues, but hopefully with a team of people working together we’ll be able to do much more.”

The diversity officers are: performance, visual arts and communications – Rachel Cowgill & Karen Lemm; LUBS – Anna Wellard, Wesley McClendon, Julia Clarke & Janet Gibson; education, social sciences and law – Anna Lawson; biological sciences – Badar Usmani & Jillian Daniel; central admin – Catherine Cho; earth & environment – Margaret Bradbury; engineering – Gurvinder Virk; estates services – Tim Gozzard & Peter Bolger. The remaining faculties and services will appoint by the end of October.

 
 


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