New equality, diversity and inclusion strategy published

Monday 19 June 2023


St Catharine’s has published its first ever strategy explaining our approach to fostering equality, diversity and inclusion, which was recently approved by the College’s Governing Body (our Trustees).

The Trustees asked the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Working Group to lead the development of this strategy, with a view to future EDI activities being delivered transparently, accountably and effectively. The strategy was developed with the support of students, staff and Fellows, including representatives on the EDI Working Group.

The strategy explains that St Catharine’s wants ‘to be a diverse and vibrant community wholly committed to fostering an environment where everyone is able to thrive and feel a sense of belonging… with a culture that upholds excellence, diversity and equality of opportunity for all’. Read the strategy in full.

Professor Sir Mark Welland (2016), Master of St Catharine’s, commented:

“St Catharine’s has made great strides in its recent history towards nurturing equality, diversity and inclusion, but we have not clearly articulated our aims and ambitions until now, so I am grateful to the students, staff and Fellows who contributed to this strategy in recent months. I welcome the thoughtful and open approach set out in our new strategy, which gives due regard to our legal obligations around both equality, diversity and inclusion and the freedom of speech.”

Rachael Oloyede-Oyeyemi, a first-year English student and Racial Equalities Officer on the JCR Committee representing undergraduates, said:

“The EDI strategy is hugely important for students coming from diverse backgrounds to feel like they are being thought about. It gives students here and due to join Catz an opportunity to be part of a living process, sharing experiences and building awareness with each contribution. By educating, celebrating, and transforming our community, the strategy makes me feel excited for the present and hopeful for the future. I champion change and have already found it empowering to meet with people from all parts of College to produce this document. The EDI strategy is another thing that makes Catz feel safe for diverse groups, and I am committed to continue to work on spaces which retain safety and accountability.” 

Laurence Fredricks (2019, Land Economy), an alumnus who has returned for a Planning, Growth and Regeneration MPhil, and LGBT+ Officer on the MCR Committee representing postgraduates, added:

The EDI strategy has set out a very welcome commitment to, and genuine interest in, ensuring the entire college community is able to flourish. Being guided by the principle of empowerment is especially pertinent; the strategy recognises that we are an ever evolving and diversifying institution thriving on the contributions and engagement of the St Catharine's community, ultimately strengthening the strategy over time." 

The new strategy is intended to encourage the St Catharine’s community to focus our resources and time on priority areas of College life, and will be periodically reviewed to ensure it remains relevant and that progress is being made towards achieving our objectives.

Mel Kydd, Head of Buildings and Maintenance at St Catharine’s and a member of the College’s LGBTQ+ Care Group, said:

“As a member of staff, I am happy to see that the strategy gets the fundamentals right and our new objectives include ensuring that our policies and processes for reporting bullying, harassment or discrimination are fit for purpose, robust and proportionate. While not particularly glamourous, this objective is crucial if we want to continue to foster equality, diversity and inclusion at Catz.”

The EDI Working Group will now turn its attention to developing a series of plans to explain how the College as a whole intends to deliver against and measure progress towards each of the five objectives outlined in the new strategy.

Dr River Chen (2017), Fellow and Chair of the EDI Working Group, added:

“I encourage St Catharine’s students, staff and Fellows to get involved in the EDI Working Group’s activities as we will need your support to develop action plans for each of our new objectives. I also want to pay tribute to Ally Barrett (2019), the first chair of the EDI Working Group (2020–22) who oversaw the early stages of this strategy’s development. I look forward to working with Ally and others now we have a clear strategy to work towards together.”