Lancaster University’s commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) came under focus during July, when a group of Travellers arrived on the 15th and camped on some of the University football pitches for four nights. In response to a letter from Eco-Socialist city councillors for University and Scotforth Rural Ward, seeking assurances that the site need not be disturbed until at least September, the response from our Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement, seen by subtext, was perhaps less-than-inclusive. Noting claims that there had been ‘physical, verbal and racial abuse directed at our students’, our recently ennobled PVC felt that, ‘Whilst we remain courteous and respectful at all times, since their departure we have incurred significant expense to clear refuse and repair damages caused. As I am sure you can understand, such despoiling of our beautiful campus does not epitomise a mutually respectful relationship.’ This framing of a complex situation in terms of waste management was, unsurprisingly, not met positively by the councillors.
Lancaster’s EDI website (https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/edi/) assures us that, ‘We are committed to creating a fairer and more inclusive University for all staff, students, visitors and our wider university community, where equality, diversity and inclusion is an integral part of our University’s plans and activities. We recognise that we all have a key role to play in making this a reality.’ We do indeed!