ATU commits to combat racism by signing HEA’s Race Equality Anti-Racism Principles

Friday, September 08, 2023 Press Office
Press Releases

Atlantic Technological University (ATU) made a further commitment in combating racism in higher education by formally signing the Higher Education Authority (HEA)’s Race Equality Anti-Racism Principles for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on Tuesday, 5 September. The Principles document set out by the HEA was signed on behalf of ATU by its President, Dr. Orla Flynn, as part of the institution's ongoing efforts to foster a culture of race equality within its community. 

The HEA, recognising the importance of addressing race inequality in Irish higher education, invited all HEI Presidents to endorse these principles. Through this endorsement, HEIs acknowledge the existence of racial inequalities and racism within the Irish education system and commit to taking proactive measures to address these issues. 

These Principles were developed after extensive consultation with stakeholders from the higher education sector and were informed by the findings of the Higher Education Authority National Race Equality survey and subsequent report published in October 2021. 

Dr. Orla Flynn, President of ATU, stated, "ATU has made a public commitment to embedding a culture of race equality within our institution and strategic priorities. We aim to foster an open dialogue on advancing race equality and have recently established the ATU Race Equality Network to facilitate this dialogue." 

Following the signing of the Principles on September 5th, members of the ATU Race Equality Network gathered to discuss their shared values and objectives to promote race equality throughout the university.  

ATU welcomed Dr Jennie Rothwell, Senior Manager and Laura Austin, Senior Executive Officer from the HEA Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to the ATU Sligo campus to witness the signing of the Principles.    

Dr Jennie Rothwell, Senior Manager of the HEA Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said: "The signing of the Anti-Racism Principles by the President of Atlantic Technological University demonstrates the University's commitment to embedding anti-racism into its institutional culture for staff and students on all ATU campuses. Endorsing the Principles builds on the ongoing equality, diversity and inclusion work at ATU and its commitment to being a diverse, equal and inclusive university."  

Professor Jacqueline McCormack, VP for EDI at ATU said: “Today is an important day for our community and we’re proud to publicly state ATU’s commitment to being anti-racist.  The Principles aim to harness the power of the ATU community to lead positive change in our region and to challenge racism and race inequality.”  

By committing to the Race Equality Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions, ATU joins with other HEIs to:  

Embed a commitment to race equality as part of institutional culture and strategic priorities  

Highlight the structural, institutional, and historical dimensions of racism which have informed past and current practice in HEIs and the societies in which they are situated  

Educate staff and students in relation to the structural, institutional, and historical dimensions of racism, as well as the more commonly recognised individual racism seen in acts of discrimination and abuse  

Encourage an open dialogue on advancing race equality  

Adopt an intersectional and intercultural approach when developing anti-racism actions and policies  

Address questions of race equality within the institution’s strategic plans  

Record student and staff data disaggregated by ethnicity to inform anti-racism policies and actions, and monitor retention and career outcomes for students and staff from ethnic minority groups including Travellers  

Continue to ensure a fair and transparent recruitment process for all staff, regardless of ethnicity  

Address race equality issues in relation to progression and retention of students and staff from minority ethnic groups including Travellers  

More details about the network's initiatives will be made available later this semester, and those interested in joining can contact for additional information.