Term 1 EDI Update

Keep up to date with how we have supported EDI this term!

Our aims at NUSU are Representative Progressive, Supportive, Inclusive, Empowering and Fun. Here at NUSU we help to support the things that matter to you. Here is a selection of the projects and campaigns we have supported, led or are currently working on related to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Black is Gold - Putting Black back on the Map.

“You’ve been such a massive inspiration for the black community here at Newcastle, making us all feel at home, despite being the minority.”

As the first woman of colour as Welfare and Equality Officer, Sara Elkhawad was keen to change and reclaim the narratives currently dominating our Black History “celebrations”, and honour the black beauty and excellence that our black students deserve.

The Black is Gold opening night featured dance, spoken word and music performances, a fashion walk, an art exhibition and traditional Trinidadian cuisine, whilst the closing party took place in World Headquarters with DJ sets from black student DJ’s. Sara also hosted a panel, in collaboration with the Great Debate Tour, exploring the current issues affecting blackness and black lived experiences, followed by our #BlackChat and #WordsHurt series which reflect the types of racism affecting our black students today. All the events were free to attend and were open to students from all backgrounds who wanted to learn more about black history and experience some of the beautiful black culture here in the toon!

You can read and watch all about it here  and read Sara’s wrote up here.

 “I can’t even begin to express how proud I am of you and the absolutely excellent month. I truly felt so validated and blessed to have been part of it. Well done!”

Safety in the City

We have known for some time that students can encounter misogyny and hate crime on a night out. NUSU are a partner of the Shout Up scheme but recent examples have left us wondering if more can be done.

“I was made to feel extremely uncomfortable and disgusted by a bouncer making sexually explicit comments about me.”

The NUSU survey asked “Please list 3 issues that matter to you as a student in priority order” 191 responses on safety were submitted. Some examples were -

  • Protection for girls on a night out
  • Abuse of bouncers in the city- I have found myself with no phone or money and have not been assisted just verbally assaulted
  • Student Safety - on campus and around the city
  • Safety both on campus and in the city as a whole
  • Safety in and around campus for women after dark
  • Support for students on nights out, particularly sexual abuse
  • Safety in the city
  • Anti-harassment campaigns (making the campus and the city in general more friendly to women)
  • Consent issues

Katie Smyth (NUSU President), working alongside Safe Newcastle is in the beginning stages of formulating a campaign in tackling the way reports are managed in the ‘nightime economy’ and looking at ways to start changing the outdated attitudes that some students are still encountering.

Operation Cloak, a Northumbria Police initiative, is a campaign aiming to prevent sexual assault in the city centre. Sara Elkhawad (Welfare and Equality Officer) went out with Officers to witness first-hand the important work they are undertaking in the pubs and clubs in the city.  Sara is hoping to be involved in enhancing further training for Police Officers on the ground. 

Rock the Cis-tem, 11th – 17th November

‘Rock the Cis-tem’ challenged systematic oppression faced by trans and non-binary people. Tobias Lawrence (LGBT+ Officer) aimed to highlight issues members in this community face and tackle them head-on to create a more accepting campus. During the week, there was several events for people from the community and for the wider student body to attend, with the aim to increase awareness, educate, and gain an understanding of the issues faced by people within our student body.

The legacy of this campaign will include a web page with information on Useful Terminology, Types of Oppression, Combatting Behaviours and a Resources section. 

 S.H.A.G. Week 2019

What is SHAG week? SHAG stands for Sexual Health, Awareness and Guidance. Its useful bits of information intended to help you keep sexually healthy. That can be anything from contraception, to pregnancy information.

This year’s campaign launched the HIV Fast Track testing clinic on Wednesday 20th November. The clinic was fully booked and will return monthly throughout the year. The introduction of the test hopes to begin the process of normalising HIV testing and start to tackle the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDs.

The annual Clubs and Societies testing competition also returned. 503 tests were taken over 4 days and 74 Clubs and Societies got involved.  The winners, with 80% of their members getting tested, were Youth Stop AIDs and runners up, with 72% of their members being tested, were Cheerleading.

Inclusive Sports Week

Led by the AU Officer, Joe Gubbins and taking place between the 2nd - 6th December, we had over 1480 spaces for you to give 4 inclusive sports a go for both disabled and able-bodied students. Everyone was welcomed to come to get involved.  Joe aimed to celebrate the diversity of our student-athletes here at Newcastle and create awareness that sport is for everyone.  He did this by giving students the chance to play disability sport, with casual sessions in Boccia, Goalball, Sitting Volleyball and Visually Impaired Cricket. All of these gave the chance for both disabled and able-bodied students to play together. 

Alongside the activities there was a talk from Clarke & Carrie Carlisle. They discussed the relationship between sport and mental health.

Clarke Carlisle, whilst being an extremely successful footballer, lived a duplicitous life of external lauding and internal loathing, a dangerous concoction, it was only after two suicide attempts that he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he finally received an accurate diagnosis.

World AIDs Day (1st December)

To commemorate World AIDs Day Youth Stop AIDS Newcastle have put together this page to provide some useful information about HIV and AIDS, as well as how we can be aware of and reduce the stigma surrounding the virus. 

Youth Stop AIDS are a youth-led movement campaigning for a world without AIDS. Their network of young people across the UK speak out, take creative action and engage those in power to ensure that governments, global institutions and corporations are committed to ending https AIDS by 2030.

If you have an idea for a campaign get in touch or fill out an application here. You can also keep up to date with the Sabbatical and Liberation Officers' work here.

Racial Equality Charter

The Racial Equality Charter (REC) Self Assessment Team has just begun, with our Welfare and Equality Officer a member among other key EDI university staff and staff from the BAME network. In order to achieve REC status, the university must adopt 5 key principles, including preventing racial inequalities within higher education, equal opportunities for all students and staff, cultural change, respecting different cultures within minority ethnic groups, and consideration of different intersectional identities. There’s been a staff and student survey out to capture the lived experiences of our ethnic minority population, and hopefully there will be some really good work to come out of this project’


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