Central School Issues Statement In Response To Protests
Students from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama recently organised a walkout "for equity, diversity and inclusion", protesting the institution's inequalities and comments made by Principal Gavin Henderson at a Dear White Central event - read more here.
The Governing Body of Central has today released the following statement in response:
Events of the past few weeks, including 'Dear White Central' and 'Central for Change' student campaigns and the peaceful walkout held at the School on Friday 11 May 2018, have raised important issues. For that, we thank the students involved, although we recognise the process has been particularly difficult for BAME members of our community. We are committed to moving forward collectively to make change. Following its meeting last night, the full Governing Body of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central) would like to issue the following statement.
Central values, embraces and is totally committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Central's mission to shape the future of theatre and performance in the UK and beyond is contingent on a diverse and inclusive student and staff body. Excellence requires diversity as this brings richness, knowledge, innovation, new understandings and skills.
The School and its leadership team would like categorically to state that it does not believe that student quotas or targets are in themselves a risk to standards or quality. Neither does Central associate the recruitment of students or staff from any socio-economic or ethnic background or with any protected characteristic, with a particular risk to standards. The standards to which the School works are set by industry employment needs and academic quality frameworks, and the reputation of Central reflects the excellence of its graduates and the teaching and research its staff carries out.
Central stands against racism, but institutional racism can be unconscious and structural. While good work is already being done in this area, we can do better and will accelerate our programme for change:
- Commission an external and independent review of the principles, practices and processes of diversity and inclusion within all aspects of Central's work
- Increase student membership on the Access, Participation, Progression and Inclusion Committee
- Extend and accelerate a programme of unconscious bias training for the Governors and all staff including the Principal, including key visiting staff and audition panel members
- Create and advertise a new role of Inclusion and Diversity Fellow to work with the School in placing best practice in diversity and inclusion at the heart of its mission
- Improve communications within and beyond the School on existing Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion work and new initiatives (including a section in weekly newsletter on related news, internal events and training; reminders of ways of reporting and raising issues)
- Develop further induction materials for all new students, staff (visiting and permanent) and visiting professionals, on inclusive practice
- Review and extend existing BAME student admissions targets, and remove any identified barriers to access and progression
- Implement an action plan from the recent audit of diversity within the curriculum including public productions
- A member of the Governing Body will be joining a meeting at Central later this week to talk directly to members of staff and Students' Union Officers and this is expected to generate further discussion and action.
There will be frequent reporting back to Governors and the wider community on what has been achieved and continues to be accomplished/undertaken.
Together we will work to make Central a beacon of good practice in diversity and inclusion.