Equality Policy

Magdalen College fully supports the aims of the Equality Act 2010, and has due regard in its decision-making to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, victimisation and harassment and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people from different protected groups, including:
    • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics;
    • Meeting the needs of people with protected characteristics;
    • Encouraging people with protected characteristics to participate in areas where their representation is low.
  • Foster good relations between people from different protected groups, including tackling prejudice and promoting understanding.

The Equality Act 2010 covers eight protected characteristics to which all three arms of the general equality duty set out above (eliminating discrimination, advancing equality, and fostering good relations) apply:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief (including lack of belief)
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Public authorities also need to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination in employment against someone because of their:

  • Marriage or civil partnership status.

This means that the first arm of the duty applies to this characteristic but that the other arms (advancing equality and fostering good relations) do not apply.

 

Magdalen College welcomes diversity among its staff, students, alumni, and visitors, recognising the particular contributions to the achievement of the College’s mission which can be made by individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

 

Magdalen aims to provide an inclusive environment which promotes equality, values diversity, and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected, to assist them in reaching their full potential. The College will work to remove any barriers which might deter people of the highest potential and ability from applying to the College, either as staff or students.

 

The College is committed to using its best endeavours to ensure that all of its activities are governed by principles of equality of opportunity. As far as is practicable, no prospective or actual student or member of staff will unjustifiably be treated less favourably than any other, whether before, during, or after their study or employment at Magdalen College on one or more of the following grounds (subject to any legal constraints and in relation to the protected characteristics laid out in the Equality Act 2010): age; disability; gender (including gender reassignment); marital or civil partnership status; parental status; pregnancy or childbirth; race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin); religion or belief (including lack of belief); sex; sexual orientation; or length or type of contract (e.g. part-time or fixed term).

 

This policy applies to all members of the College community, both students and staff, whether permanent, temporary, casual, part-time or on fixed-term contracts, to job applicants, to student applicants, current and former students, to honorary and associate members, and to visitors to the College.

 

With regard to students, this policy applies, but is not limited to, admissions, to teaching, learning and research provision, to scholarships, grants and other awards and benefits under the College’s control, to student support and welfare, to access to College accommodation and to other buildings, facilities and services, to health and safety, to personal conduct, and to student complaints and disciplinary procedures.

 

The College expects all its staff, students and visitors to take personal responsibility for familiarising themselves with this policy and to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner towards other staff, students (prospective, current, and former) and visitors. Members of the College community have a duty to treat colleagues with respect at all times, and not to discriminate against, victimise or harass other students, members of staff or visitors, whether junior or senior to them. The College regards any breach of this policy by any employee(s) or student(s) as a serious matter to be dealt with through its agreed procedures and which may result in disciplinary action.

 

The College through this Equality Policy, its Codes of Practice on Harassment and Freedom of Speech, and its other policies and frameworks seeks to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for all men and women working and studying at the College or applying to do so, and to ensure equality of access to all services provided by the College. Magdalen College is a College in the University of Oxford, and works closely with the University’s Equality and Diversity Unit (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/).

In accordance with its specific duties under the Equality Act 2010, the College has adopted the following two Equality objectives for the years 2012-13 to 2015-16, and reports below on progress in achieving them:

1.    To develop further Magdalen’s outreach and access work.

2.    To improve the College’s processes for the collection and analysis of Equal Opportunities data on students and staff.

The College’s Equality work covers a much wider range than that referred to in these objectives, and further information about the extent of this follows.

 

Objective 1:

In respect of the College’s first objective, there has been a transformation in the range and scale of outreach and access activity by the College.

Outreach encompasses widening access, widening participation, and student recruitment. Under the University’s regionalisation scheme, Magdalen is linked with the local authorities of Barnsley, Brent, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, and Westminster. For further information on the scheme, see http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/open-days-outreach/events-students-teachers/resources-teachers/link-colleges.

In 2012 the College appointed its first full-time Outreach Officer. The year 2012-13 saw a substantial increase in outreach activities, with 42 Outreach Officer-led events, involving 64 different schools and over 1,250 students. A Student Ambassador scheme was created to provide visiting school pupils with the opportunity to engage with current students, and a Student Ambassador Roadshow took place in South Yorkshire. A termly newsletter was developed to inform link schools of outreach events and opportunities at Magdalen and Oxford, and in January 2013 a Magdalen Outreach Twitter feed, @MagdOutreach, was set up to enable communication with link schools and interested students to take place in a less formal setting. Cooperation was established with Cambridge College Outreach and Schools Liaison Officers with responsibility for the same link regions as Magdalen, leading to events in Brent and Westminster. Magdalen also became an active supporter of the Pathways Programme, a cross-college initiative, with support from the Sutton Trust, which works with non-selective state school pupils in Years 10 to 13 and aims to raise aspirations for, and encourage applications to, Oxford. In 2013-14, all of the previous year’s initiatives were continued and developed. The College also contributed to the University’s Women in Science days, was represented at evening events in link regions aimed at women in STEM and Oxbridge, and began to build a strong relationship with education charity IntoUniversity, which works with schools in many areas of low progression that have a high concentration of BME students. In 2014-15, besides building on the work of the previous two years, the College saw its first Outreach Fellow take up office, with responsibility for oversight of the College’s outreach work, and there has been greater coordination of outreach activity between the numerous members of College involved in this work, including the JCR and MCR committee members with responsibility for access. Further development of Magdalen’s outreach initiatives is also a key part of the College’s Strategic Plan for 2015-20, which was agreed this year. Additional activities in 2015-16 included a ‘Target Schools Thursdays’ initiative run by Magdalen, which proved very popular in the College’s link local authorities of Brent and Westminster, and two events co-hosted on behalf of the Brilliant Club, an educational charity that works to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities.

 

Objective 2:

In respect of the College’s second objective, the processes for the collection and analysis of Equal Opportunities data on students and staff have been considerably improved. The data on students are considered annually by the Academic Policy Committee, and the data on staff by the Human Resources Committee.

The bulk of the data available to the Academic Policy Committee is provided by the University’s Student Data Management and Analysis team, and some of the data are available on the University website (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/aad/sdma/statistics/student/). The Academic Policy Committee did not note any concerning trends in the data on protected characteristics for current students in the years 2012-13, 2013-14, or 2014-15 (though there was a slight fall in the percentage of female students in 2015-16), and consistently felt that the College should continue to further its efforts to attract high-quality applicants from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible. In respect of Final Examination Results, in 2013 the percentages of Magdalen’s female and male students achieving Firsts were 21% and 49% respectively (for the University as a whole, 26% and 34% respectively); however, they were very close in 2014 (women 31%; men 34%; University – 27% and 35% respectively) and 2015 (women 44%; men 45%; University – 25% and 36% respectively), the latter year, which comprised 64 students from UK state schools, 30 students from UK independent schools, and 20 students from overseas schools, seeing the second-best Finals performance of any Magdalen cohort.

Information about the College’s provision of support for disabled applicants and students is given below.

In respect of Equality data on staff, the Human Resources Committee has considered both recruitment data and data on current employees. The recruitment data were gathered on 24 academic and non-academic posts in 2012, 27 in 2013, and 25 in 2014. The Committee has noted that the completeness of the information available to it is very much dependent on the proportion of applicants who submit the anonymous forms, and the proportions of those doing so in 2014 were scrutinized in 2015 with a view to establishing whether more complete and useful data might become available in 2016. Most of the posts considered are non-academic rather than academic: the majority of the College’s senior academic appointments are made jointly with the University. The University has gathered and published monitoring and statistical data and other Equality information in a series of reports available from:

http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/policy/data/report/.

These reports incorporate data on members of the College’s academic staff who hold a joint appointment with the University.

In 2014-15, up-to-date Equality data were gathered on the College’s workforce by means of an anonymous questionnaire, which was returned by 110 of the College’s current employees. The analysis of this (e.g. female staff 52%; BME staff 16%; staff with a disability 10%) appeared to show results broadly in line with expectations for the sector. Further data will be examined in Trinity Term 2016 with a view to considering analysis of the evolution of the workforce over time, and to seeing whether comparability can be established between recruitment data and data on current staff.

There is a variety of other Equality work within the College beyond that related to Magdalen’s specific Equality objectives. In 2014-15 the College’s Harassment policy was revised following the revision of the University’s Harassment policy, and the College’s Freedom of Speech policy will be reviewed in Trinity Term 2016. The College’s policy on parental leave is regularly updated. But perhaps the most extensive regular Equality work is in respect of disabled students and staff.

When an applicant for a place at Magdalen declares a disability, the applicant is contacted by the College, and the Admissions Officer liaises with the candidate and key College staff to ensure that appropriate adjustments can be put in place in good time for the interview process. Successful candidates are encouraged in their offer letters to disclose any disability if they have not already done so. The College’s Student Support Administrator liaises with the student and the University’s Disability Advisory Service (DAS), and the College’s designated Disability Adviser at the DAS makes arrangements with the student for a disability assessment. The assessment leads to a Student Support Plan, on the basis of which provision can be tailored to the particular needs of that student.

Adjustments in College take a variety of forms, including choice of room, furniture or equipment (such as beds, chairs, or desks), assistance in the case of visual or aural impairment (such as devices to alert students with hearing impairment to a fire alarm), transportation, the location of teaching, and examination adjustments. The examination adjustments, which involve liaison between the College’s Academic Administrator, the DAS, the College Doctors, and the University Proctors, vary widely from case to case, and can include extra writing time, rest breaks, the use of a word processor, the use of special software (e.g. for mathematical or musical notation, or for particular languages), the provision of a separate examination room, the use of one or more amanuenses (sometimes one for each sub-discipline of an Honour School) or readers, and arrangement of overnight supervision for those unable to take examinations on particular days (this can be for various reasons, including disability and the timing of religious holidays). Where practicable, examination arrangements for students who have had adjustments approved for their University examinations are used for their College examinations (‘collections’), which assists students by giving practice in sitting examinations in the appropriate conditions, as well as helping to ensure fair assessment of their progress.

In respect of improving access to College facilities for members of College and visitors to the College, much work has been done in recent years, in consultation with the relevant planning and other authorities, including the creation of accessible accommodation and teaching space, the installation of a lift in Cloisters to give access to meeting room and library space, and new accessible toilet facilities. Accessibility was made an important element in the College’s Strategic Plan for 2015-20, and the following access improvements were made in 2015-16:

•    Chaplain’s Quad. In place of stepped access into the Ante Room, we installed a stone ramp with handrails and alternative stepped access to cater for the needs of both wheelchair users and people who are ambulant disabled.
•    Daubeny Building. The main glass entrance door and subsequent internal doors leading to Rooms 1 and 2 have been automated. Though both rooms are already accessible, minor alterations and upgrades have been made since the 2007 refurbishment to meet the needs of wheelchair users.
•    Longwall Annexe, Lower Annexe. Alterations to five existing store-rooms have been made to create four en-suite study bedrooms, including one accessible en-suite room with ramp access in the external courtyard and automation to the courtyard door and the building entrance door.
•    Marston Road Grounds. An existing rutted stone track has been removed, and a new roadway has been provided, with highway-standard construction depths and appropriate drainage, surfaced with self-binding gravel. This surface provides improved accessibility for students, staff, and visitors to the College properties, the Fellows Garden, and the all-weather sports pitch operated by Magdalen College School.

The College’s JCR and MCR committees are also engaged in Equality work. The JCR has four Equalities Officers (a Women’s Officer, an LGBTQ Officer, a Disabled Students’ Officer, and a BME Students Officer, the latter two positions created in 2014-15), who are active in running and advertising events, including discussion groups, workshops, and social events. The MCR is similarly active; in 2014 it added an LGBTQ Officer to its committee structure, and in 2015 it added four new Equalities Officers (or Liberation Representatives) – a Women’s Officer, a Disabled Students’ Officer, a Racial Equality Officer, and an additional LGBTQ Officer. In 2014, the College accepted a proposal from the JCR and MCR to fly the Rainbow Flag on one day in February, to give a public expression of its commitment to provide a welcoming, safe, and supportive environment for both work and leisure for all members of the College, whatever their sexual orientation. In 2015, the College accepted a proposal from the JCR and MCR to fly the Rainbow Flag for one week of LGBTQ History month every year.

In accordance with its specific duties under the Equality Act 2010, the College has adopted the following two Equality objectives for the years 2016-17 to 2019-20, and reports below on progress in achieving them:

1 .   To increase the accessibility of Magdalen’s buildings and grounds for disabled members of the College and visitors.

2 .  To improve further the College’s provision of support for disabled students, staff, and visitors.

The College’s Equality work covers a much wider range than that referred to in these objectives, and further information about the extent of this follows.

 

Objective 1:

There has been very extensive work in College in support of this objective.

Trinity Term 2016 to Hilary Term 2017:
•    Grove Buildings internal refurbishment. The existing accessible rooms (D.III.1 and the Teaching Room with ancillary bathroom in A) were refurbished and upgraded to a higher specification.
•    Grove Quad re-landscaping. The works involved replacement Yorkstone paving. The improvements include tight 3mm joints between paving stones; re-designed ramp layouts at the north end of Building A by the car park and from the F/E door at the Auditorium; a more manageable gradient of ramp into all accessible areas; and a seamless transition to the asphalt paths that lead into College.
•    Longwall Library. All floors of the building are now accessible to a wheelchair user through the introduction of a lift; all users of the library can use the same front door which is automatic and approached by a ramp; circulatory and room doors throughout all floors of the building are automatic; circulation routes throughout the building are generous to allow for ease of movement of a wheelchair; fittings and fixtures have been designed to take account of the needs of disabled people; signage is clear throughout the building, and colours are of a suitable degree of contrast to aid those with visual impairments; provision has been made throughout in designing for those with sensory impairments; there are accessible WC facilities on the lower ground and first floors; and the Longwall late gate has also been automated, giving wheelchair access to and from the street 24/7.

Trinity Term 2017 to Hilary Term 2018:
•    Replacement Buttery lift. The existing platform lift has been replaced with a Part M compliant hydraulic passenger and goods lift, which has been modified and appropriately re-modelled so that it can transport wheelchair and ambulant disabled users.
•    Hall refurbishment. The existing PA system has been replaced with a new sound system, which for the first time introduces a hearing loop system to assist those with hearing impairments.
•    Holywell Ford Stables. Both floors of the building are now accessible to a wheelchair user through the introduction of a Stannah stairlift; all users can use the same front door, which is automatic and approached by a ramp; all internal doors throughout are automatic; signage is clear throughout the building and colours are of a suitable degree of contrast to aid those with visual impairments; and there is an accessible WC on the ground floor.
•    Senior Common Room. A new Part M compliant hydraulic lift has been installed, which provides access to the first floor where the Senior Common Room is located, and to the upper first floor where the Lower Muniment Room can be found. There is an accessible WC on the first floor, and wheelchair users can move independently between the Senior Common Room and the Lower Muniment Room with the aid of automatic doors. Signage is clear throughout the refurbished spaces, and colours are of a suitable degree of contrast to aid those with visual impairments.
•    Old Practice Room. The passageway from the Cloister into the Old Practice Room has been made level going, and the room door is automatic, which now makes this an accessible teaching and meeting space.

 

Objective 2:

The College has continued to work hard to improve its provision of support to disabled students, staff, and visitors. A detailed account of the various ways in which Magdalen supports disabled students is given above in our Equality Reports for 2012-13 to 2015-16. In all but one of the years 2010 to 2016, the College has had a higher percentage of students with a declared disability than the University as a whole, and that percentage increased from 4.7% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2016. The data on Final Examination results for the period 2014-16 at Magdalen and in the University as a whole show that over this period 35.90% of Magdalen finalists with a declared disability achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 26.65%), while 39.44% of Magdalen finalists with no declared disability achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 32.72%).

 

Other Equality work:

Much other Equality work has been done at Magdalen, with the aim of promoting and increasing diversity and inclusivity wherever possible.

Between 2016 and 2018 Magdalen has significantly increased its outreach efforts, in support of the University’s aim of removing barriers to higher education and promoting equality of opportunity. In 2016-17 much work was done to complete and update the database of schools in Magdalen’s link regions, and to develop both ‘An Introduction to Oxford’ workshops at local host schools, and ‘Magdalen Revealed’ workshops at the College, aimed specifically at schools which have little or no history of making competitive applications to Oxford.  Confirmed engagements were made with 82 of the schools in the link regions, and 32 Magdalen students were trained as Student Ambassadors, who assisted at both external and internal events. In the year 2017-18 the Outreach Officer arranged or attended 41 outreach events, reaching approximately 1,500 pupils from 84 schools. Over 60 current undergraduates have now been trained to act as Student Ambassadors during these outreach events. The Outreach Officer collaborated with other colleges and departments on outreach events aimed at widening participation more broadly, including a Women in Science event in collaboration with Jesus and Trinity Colleges, a computer science competition organised by the Department of Computer Science, and a charity fundraiser for International Women’s Day. Magdalen Outreach co-hosted the Oxford African & Caribbean Society’s annual Offer-Holders Day, during which 24 Year-13 Oxford offer-holders of black African & Caribbean heritage attended workshops and study skills sessions followed by a formal dinner at Magdalen. The Outreach Officer also attended an outreach event for BME students at IntoUniversity Lambeth, which consisted of an all-BME panel of Oxford alumni providing insights into the admissions process and Oxford life, followed by a Q&A session. From October 2017 the Outreach Officer was involved in the development of an app to highlight landmarks around Oxford that are relevant to the BME community, to help address the perceived lack of recognition of BME figures and BME history within Oxford. Magdalen continues to work closely with organisations including IntoUniversity, The Access Project, and the Sixth Form Partnership to reach pupils at state-funded schools in areas with low rates of progression to higher education.

The Final Examination results supplied by the University for the period 2014-16, which were scrutinized by the College’s Academic Policy Committee, show that 38.62% of Magdalen women who were finalists achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 27.35%), while 39.33% of Magdalen men achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 36.11%), with 2016 marking the third year in succession in which the Finals performance of women at Magdalen matched that of men, a sharp contrast with the picture in the University as a whole. In respect of BME students, the University’s statistics for the period 2014-16 show that 37.10% of Magdalen finalists classified as BME/unknown achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 28.80%), while 39.46% of Magdalen finalists classified as White achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 32.92%). However, the overall numbers of women and BME students studying at Magdalen are lower than the College would wish, and further work on the College’s Outreach strategy will be undertaken in Trinity Term 2018 to address this issue. More broadly, in developing its Outreach strategy the College will be seeking to address the challenge of changing public perceptions, in order to attract higher numbers of academically able students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups.

The Tutor for Equality and Diversity has organised a termly Equality and Diversity Forum for Magdalen’s undergraduates and graduates, which provides a space for raising issues and instigating positive changes within the College. Among the improvements which have been made is the setting out of clearer information by the College about arrangements for those with particular dietary requirements, such as the provision of kosher and halal food.

In co-operation with the JCR and MCR, the College made significant changes to its Student Welfare provision in 2016-17, with the appointment of a Tutor for Welfare, Personal Tutors for all incoming fresher undergraduates, and a Student Mentor to offer advice and guidance to all students on a broad range of topics, to help signpost students to other support services, which include a College Counsellor who is also a member of the University’s Counselling Service, and to organise various sorts of discussion groups or workshops, such as the very popular sessions on Mindfulness. The JCR and MCR also have Welfare Officers and Peer Supporters who receive training in welfare support for students. An additional Sub-Dean was added to the College’s provision from Hilary Term 2018, to increase the ‘out-of-hours’ welfare support available to Magdalen students. In 2017, the College required all fresher undergraduates to attend a session on Student Safety which included sexual consent guidance provided by the Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre. The College’s welfare provision will be reviewed again in Trinity Term 2018.

The College’s Human Resources Committee has continued to monitor recruitment data and data on current staff. These are derived from forms completed voluntarily by applicants for posts and by current College staff, and appear to be relatively consistent from year to year in respect of declarations about ethnicity and disability. As before, most of the posts considered are non-academic rather than academic: the majority of the College’s senior academic appointments are made jointly with the University. The University has gathered and published monitoring and statistical data and other Equality information in a series of reports available from:

http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/policy/data/report/.

These reports incorporate data on a number of the College’s academic staff who hold a joint appointment with the University.

In considering the figures for the Gender Pay Gap at Magdalen (in the reporting year 2016-17: median 2.02%; mean 26.46%), the Committee noted the factors that have led to the imbalance in the mean (in particular, the number of male incumbents in the most senior roles), and considered ways of addressing the gap. The College has in place a generous Maternity policy, details of which are advertised in the further particulars for academic vacancies with the aim of attracting more applications from female candidates. In addition, the College’s shared parental leave pay policy mirrors the Maternity pay policy, to encourage men to take on more responsibility for caring for children. The College is seeking to establish a dedicated College nursery as well as transitional housing for families to attract more applications from female candidates. And the College will review its recruitment processes, focus on how to attract more women into the roles within the College where there is currently a preponderance of men, and ensure that all interviewers have received guidance about unconscious bias.

Consideration has been given to the promotion of an atmosphere in Magdalen of inclusivity and equality for all members of the community. A revision of the College’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech was undertaken in 2016, along with a further revision of the Code of Practice on Harassment (following the revision of that Code which was undertaken in 2015). In Trinity Term 2018 the College will consider its provision for its transgender community, in light of recent revisions to the University’s Transgender Policy and Guidance.

The College has also continued to celebrate the achievements of female Fellows at Magdalen by commissioning female portraiture, with recent portraits of Professor Lizzie Fricker and Dr Christine Ferdinand to add to the portrait of Dame Frances Kirwan. At the instigation of the JCR, in close co-operation with the MCR and Fellows of Magdalen, the College has decided to commission a series of photographic portraits, to hang in the Dining Hall, which will reflect the diversity of the College’s membership and help to ensure that all students and staff feel included in the College community.

The JCR and MCR are also very active in promoting equality in other ways. The JCR has established the post of Trans Officer, to help support the needs of transgender students. Its BME Representative has attended the Oxford SU Access and Admissions Focus Group and training sessions of the Oxford SU Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, and the JCR held its first Race Workshop during Freshers’ Week in 2017. The MCR’s Racial Equality Officer is working with counterparts in the JCR to establish an annual dinner for BME students, starting in 2018, to parallel the annual dinner for students identifying as LGBTQ+. The JCR organised a panel discussion entitled ‘The Power of Out: Being Yourself & Being Successful’, with guest LGBTQ+ speakers from Barclays, Boston Consulting Group, and VISA, and LGBTQ+ drinks are held weekly in the Old Kitchen Bar. There is also close collaboration between the Welfare team and the LGBTQ+ Officers, the Disabilities Representative, and the BME Representative. Both the JCR and the MCR are proud to be working to make Magdalen an ever more diverse and inclusive environment.