Imperial’s new conference policy puts guidance on promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at the forefront.
The new policy covers all conferences, meetings and workshops organised by Imperial staff and students, including events which take place off campus – as well as external events that take place at Imperial.
Meeting organisers must now publish a code of conduct which includes a strong anti-harassment statement, with participation in the event dependent on agreeing to abide by the code of conduct. A template code of conduct is provided.
The policy, which has been approved by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Group, also includes guidelines to help meeting organisers promote equality, diversity and inclusion. This might include:
- Developing and publishing a speaker policy – and committing to making the effort needed to recognise and include the diversity of talent in the academic community
- Being accessible and family-friendly – thinking through how best to support attendees who are disabled or have caring responsibilities
- Leading by example – helping to set the standard if asked to help organise, attend or speak at a conference
Providing a safe and inclusive environment
“Conferences, meetings and workshops are essential forums for exchanging ideas and an important part of academic life,” said Imperial’s Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, who chairs the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Group. “It is vital that everyone can participate and contribute equally in these events.”
Imperial is one of just a small number of UK universities to have introduced a policy of this kind.
“At Imperial we recognise that there are many groups who are still under-represented among our students and staff, particularly, in the latter case, at more senior academic and professional levels,” said Professor Stephen Curry, Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
“One of the ways we can address this issue is to take active steps to promote equality, diversity and inclusion at conferences that are associated with the College, since these provide valuable career development opportunities. We believe this aspiration is fully consistent with the desire of conference organisers to invite the highest quality speakers and discussants in order to offer the richest possible experience to attendees.
“The new policy was developed through extensive consultation and it has been designed as a useful resource for meeting organisers, and to help them provide a safe and inclusive environment for all conference participants.”
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