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Diversity and inclusivity at AUC

A commitment, a dialogue, a celebration

We are committed to strengthening inclusivity and diversity at AUC. Embedding these values in our practice, policies, words and actions is our collective responsibility. Doing so calls on us to stand firmly against discrimination, and to create and nurture an environment where every member of our community feels welcome and safe, and knows their contribution is valued and respected. Our learning should foster global perspectives and challenge preconceptions, particularly when these are rooted in prejudice or bias. Access to and participation in the life of our college and community should encourage and promote the involvement of intellectually curious and capable applicants, with particular attention to including those whose experiences of life and education have been disadvantaged by discrimination or exclusion.

Here we provide updates on how our approach to diversity and inclusivity continues to evolve, and link to where our universities provide many useful resources and projects for engaging with actions on diversity, learning about anti-racism and getting involved, and details of annual programmes. Members of the AUC community belong to both universities and are encouraged to get involved.

  • AUC’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion: update 23 November 2020

    Introducing the Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    AUC has appointed Sehida Begovic as the Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This is a new position at AUC, created to support and report on the implementation of the Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She gained her experience on these topics while working for VU Diversity Office since 2017. Her experience includes themes such as student leadership, inclusive recruitment and decolonisation. She'll be working to help develop initiatives and further develop policies related to diversity, equity and inclusion at AUC.

    Community involvement in AUC’S Framework and Action Plan

    On 25 September 2020, we distributed AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Following this, we are organising several open discussions with students and staff which will start in the month of November.

    Folia article written by Marianne Riphagen

    Marianne Riphagen, our Head of Studies Academic Core, recently wrote an opinion piece addressing the importance of diversity in (higher) education which was published in Folia. You can read the full article here. Unfortunately, it is only available in Dutch.

    Baldwin Series 2020-2021: The intersection of Race, Gender, Class, and the Nation

    In the upcoming year, AUC will host a series of lectures centring James Baldwin’s work. In the second lecture of this series, Dawn M Skorczewski will be discussing James Baldwin's "Stranger in the Village”. The lecture is on the 25 November, from 18:00 to 19:30, more information can be found here.

    STQ Project: Fair Access to Higher Education

    Marianne Riphagen, Head of Studies Academic Core, just commenced her senior teaching qualification at the VU Learn Academy. Her STQ project focuses on realising fair access to higher education. More specifically, Marianne explores possible changes to AUC’s admissions procedure, in line with AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

    EDI project: Diversifying the International Relations Curriculum

    In the Spring semester 2021, Vessela Chakarova, lecturer International Relations, will be working on an Educational Development Initiative focused on diversifying the IR curriculum at AUC. With the support of a group of students, Vessela will explore non-Western IR sources, which could potentially be included in existing or new IR courses.

    AUC Student Activities

    Our students are also working on diversity at the university. For updates on the work of the AUC Student Council, you can follow their Instagram page. To see what the AUCSA Diversity Commission is organising in the upcoming months for the anti-racism initiative in collaboration with AUC’s Health and Well-Being Team, you can check out their Instagram page as well.

    AUC Student CPI Opportunities

    AUC’s Community Projects and Internships (CPI) team has a range of opportunities on offer that focus on diversity, inclusion and community building. AUC students can find these opportunities on Canvas (> AUC student information > Community Projects and Internships: Opportunities). In addition, the CPI team is currently liaising with diversity and inclusion projects at the UvA and VU to see how AUC can be involved.

  • AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    On Friday 25 September 2020 we shared AUC’s Framework and Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the AUC community. This Framework and Action Plan outlines the importance of diversity at AUC and the targeted measures we are taking to make AUC an inclusive community. It is the result of work conducted following the 11 June commitments made by AUC’s Management. On that day, AUC’s Management acknowledged the prevalence of institutional racism in our society and committed to a new approach.

    The Framework and Action Plan combine to provide a living document, an invitation to the community to remain involved, and will evolve and adapt over time in response to our continuing conversations and reflections. At the same time, the plan also serves as a tool for increased transparency and accountability for the commitments we have made, by introducing concrete milestones, actions and a regular reporting mechanism.

  • Commitment to diversity and inclusivity: a new approach: update 9 July 2020

    Our commitment to diversity and inclusivity: a new approach

    We must do more and we must do better: AUC commits to a new approach

    In June 2020, students and colleagues called for more progress and more decisive actions on diversity at AUC. In a series of forums, focus groups and conversations, members of our community expressed the need for us to reflect on our own practice, and to establish the path we will take to do more and to do better.

    On 11 June 2020, the members of AUC’s core management team addressed these concerns in a statement published to colleagues and students. We commit to a new approach and to concrete actions. In doing so, we acknowledge that the actions taken by our college so far have not been sufficient or gone far enough. We apologise sincerely to members of our community, past and present, who have experienced discrimination or racism.

    Our next steps working together with the community

    The momentum for change is an opportunity for AUC to learn from past mistakes and work together on a new approach. This implies common responsibility, clear and accountable leadership, timely progress, and transparent and participatory dialogue. Building on these foundations, we will launch a comprehensive AUC Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusivity in the coming semester. This initiative is already informed by the expertise, experience and passion of voices in our community, the counsel of professionals in our universities, and the guidance of reports and resources, including the 2016 Let’s do diversity report.

    The plan includes a review of current and prior policies and addresses areas including: supporting students, admissions to alumni, staffing, curriculum and classrooms. Each of these contains specific, achievable, accountable and time-lined actions. In this way, the aims we share as a community – learning that accounts for decoloniality and intersectionality; a safe and supportive environment; employment and student recruitment practices informed by social justice – will become part of all aspects of our activity.

    In September 2020, there will be opportunities for students and colleagues to help improve the plan in forums and discussions, and we look forward to announcing details of how to participate at the start of the semester.

  • Reporting instances of harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct

    Amsterdam University College believes that everyone has the right to live, study and work in a safe and supportive environment, free from abuse, harassment and/or assault. We are committed to creating and nurturing an inclusive, supportive and safe environment for all, and to working to better support and educate the entire AUC community.

    Our aim is to:

    • enable frank, open and honest discussion
    • provide clear signposting, training and support for all
    • create a clear, robust system for disclosure, reporting and seeking support
    • build relationships based on trust and respect
    • foster a culture where there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment, violence or hate crime against anyone
    • take every disclosure seriously
    • establish and follow fair and transparent processes
    • reflect and review, to promote positive change

    AUC encourages everyone in the AUC community who has experienced or witnessed an incident of harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct at AUC to submit a report or complaint through the Complaint/Reporting Form for Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. The link to the form can be found in Canvas (AUC Student Information, page for Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct). It is possible to make a report anonymously.

  • Support services and links to useful resources
  • Diversity Programme 2020-2021

    [Online] Decolonizing sexuality, disrupting epistemologies, shattering the subject by Dr. Rachel Spronk

    Dr. Rachel Spronk will deliver this lecture as part of "The Emotional Turn in Contemporary Public and Academic Debates' series taking place at AUC. 

    If decolonising sexuality means a fundamental disruption of our theoretical repertoire, it implies that we have to question something that carries immense intellectual and emotional significance for many of us: the possible unfavourable effects of the human rights discourse. We all recognise the global fight against homophobia and for social justice regarding sexual diversity and how solidarity and recognition are important vectors to work towards an equal world. Yet, we must also come to terms with the fact that the production of knowledge about sexuality in/on African societies is embedded in asymmetrical relations of power on a global scale, and that there may be particular ethnocentric tendencies in our research agendas. In this lecture, I will tackle the intellectual and emotional dilemmas in which the work of decolonizing sexuality in the spirit of lgbt+ emancipation is steeped.

    Speaker: Dr. Rachel Spronk is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. She works at the intersection of three scholarly fields - anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, and African studies. In her work, she combines the ethnographic study of practices and self-perceptions with the task of rethinking our theoretical repertoires.
    Convenor:

    Dr. Maxim Kupovykh

    When:

    20 October 2020, 10.45-12.15

    [Online] “I Am Not Your Negro” by Dr. Jonathan Gill

    Dr. Jonathan Gill will deliver this lecture as part of "Baldwin Series 2020-2021: The intersection of Race, Gender, Class, and the Nation" taking place at AUC.

    Raoul Peck's BAFTA Award-winning documentary I Am Not Your Negro (2016) explores the history of race in the United States today. Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House Peck explores Baldwin’s recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. In this webinar Dr. Jonathan Gill (AUC) focuses on the struggle for civil rights, the personal writings of Baldwin, and the transcendent power of the archive.

    Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Gill specialises in American Studies,  and in particular, post-World War II art, film and literature, African-American history and culture, experimental and vernacular musics, the counterculture of the 1960s, the literature of immigration and the cultures of intolerance. He has also taught Yiddish at the University of Amsterdam and has written and lectured widely on Judaism and Jewish culture. His latest book, Hollywood Double Agent: The True Tale of Boris Morros (2020) tells the story of a film producer who was a Russian double agent and a major figure in the 1930s and 40s.
    Convenor:

    Dr. Lara Mazurski

    When:

    28 October 2020, 18.00-19.30

  • Diversity Programme 2019-2020

    Engagement Council monthly meetings

    The Engagement Council is a central platform for organisations with goals related to outreach and community engagement. Both external and internal parties involved with AUC will be able to share information about what their organisations are doing and discuss opportunities for collaboration and support.  Any organisations that are not yet involved, but have relevant goals or plans (for example, are planning an event that involves inviting members of the local community) can look to the Engagement Council as a resource for meeting others now or throughout the year. There are monthly meetings and newsletters, and we also plan to host a networking event in the early new year. Please get in contact if are interested in participating

    Participants: All students are welcome to join in an ‘observing’ capacity, and organisations can pitch an event or goal, and take part in the monthly newsletter. Please contact Sophia Worth (Graduate Assistant and Chair of the Engagement Council) if your committee would like to join or just to come to meetings in an observing capacity.
    Organisers:

    Dr. Ydwine Zanstra and Graduate Assistant Siem Teusink

    When: Quarterly
    Where: Varies per meeting.

    Digital Who’s in Town: Gloria Wekker in conversation with Nancy Jouwe

    On 16 June 2020, Global Identity Experience lecturer and cultural historian Nancy Jouwe hosted anthropologist and emeritus professor Gloria Wekker in her online class. The panel conversation was moderated by historian Wim Manuhutu (VU). During their 90-minute conversation, they discussed the concept of intersectionality and its relation to the social movement for women’s rights in the Netherlands; how colonial history informs current race relations & the current attention for the Black Lives Matter movement; and the 2016 report “Let’s Do Diversity”, published by the University of Amsterdam’s Diversity Commission, which was chaired by emeritus professor Gloria Wekker. Many AUC staff and students attended the panel conversation.

    Participants: Prof. dr. Gloria Wekker, Nany Jouwe, moderated by Wim Manuhutu, attended by AUC students and staff
    Organisers:

    AUC Global Identity Experience course

    When:

    16 June 2020

    Diversity awareness workshops for first-year students

    As part of the Global Identity Experience course, all first-year students will be given workshops on diversity and inclusivity awareness. The workshops are given by Siema Ramdas and Amrita Das and revolve around an exercise called “Stepping in the Circle.” The workshops aim to make students aware of different levels of diversity and the dimensions these take within the AUC context.

    Participants: AUC first-year students
    Organisers:

    Diversity Outreach Coordinator and members of AUC's Well-being Team

    When: January 2020 and June 2020

    LGBTQ+ awareness month

    Throughout February, the AUC Well-Being Team and several AUCSA committees are organising events in honour of LGBTQ+ Awareness Month. The month aims to raise awareness for issues around acceptance and intersectionality, as well as celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of AUC. 

    Participants: AUC students and staff
    Organisers:

    AUC Student Life Officer, Diversity Commission, AUC Well-bring Team, AUC Peer Supporters, AUCSA

    When: February 2020

    Black History Month at AUC

    In honour of Black History Month, AUC's Student Life Officer and the Well-Being Team, with the assistance of many AUCSA committees, are organising a number of events that will take place throughout October. There will be different cultural events that aim to celebrate racial diversity in AUC's student body including film screenings, a focus group, discussions, debates and art activities.

    Participants: AUC students and staff
    Organisers:

    AUC Student Life Officer, Diversity Commission, AUC Well-bring Team, AUC Peer Supporters, AUCSA

    When: October 2019
  • Diversity Programme 2018–2019

    Current issues of diversity and inclusivity in higher education

    This will be a tutor meeting dedicated to the topic of diversity. The newly instated discrimination and complaints procedure will also be addressed. Covering inclusivity and diversity, this meeting will cover what’s different now, what are the most relevant issues and what have we learned in terms of practical advice and best practices.

    Participants: AUC tutors
    Organisers:

    Huan Hsu (Senior Tutor, AUC) and Ydwine Zanstra (Outreach Coordinator, AUC)

    When: March 2019

    Faculty meeting breakout session

    Dr. Anne de Graaf (Chief Diversity Officer, UvA) will host a breakout session during the AUC faculty meeting where participants will discuss classroom situations and individual interactions with students where they felt uncomfortable or not sure how to handle them. The outcome of this session is to get an impression of the kind of challenges faculty face and to raise awareness of implicit bias.

    Participants: AUC faculty, both internal and external
    Organisers:

    Dr. Anne de Graaf (Chief Diversity Officer, UvA), Lydia Roberts (Student Life Officer, AUC), Dr. Ydwine Zanstra (Outreach Coordinator, AUC)

    When: 20 February 2019

    LGBTQ+ History month

    Celebrating the lives of all within our diverse community, this February AUC will host LGBTQ+ History Month. With the recent controversy surrounding the Nashville statement throughout the Netherlands, we believe this is vital to building positive connections, experiences and memories for more equitable and harm-free LGBTQ+ history.

    Participants: AUC students and staff
    Organisers:

    AUC Student Life Officer, Diversity Commission, AUC Well-bring Team, AUC Peer Supporters, AUCSA

    When: February 2019

    Panel discussion: How can institutions effectively respond to racism?

    As universities and other institutions are trying to creating respectful, inclusive and diverse environments, they should have clear methods on how to acknowledge racism and effectively respond to racist behaviour. In this panel discussion, experts from various fields will provide theoretical and academic knowledge, tips on the development of awareness, and practical methods. The panel aims to answer the questions which institutions face when moving towards a more diverse and inclusive community. Guests are welcome to voice their opinions on the questions raised during the panel and contribute with their ideas.

    Participants: Open to the public.
    Organisers:

    Panel participants:

    • Sarita Bajnath 
    • Tarim Nduma Flach
    • Erik van Halewin 
    • Henning Zorn

    Convenor: Lydia Roberts

    When: 28 January 2019

    Let's talk. A workshop on anti-polarisation skills

    Fierce debates about the refugee crisis, racism and our identity have become an everyday reality. The ‘grey’ middle ground with countless personalities, different world-views, and actual room for nuance is being drowned out by the extreme voices of today. The learning goals of this workshop include anti-polarisation skills, unconscious bias, conversation skills (addressing racism), resilience, promoting productive and respectful discussions, and acknowledging different points of view. The goals also include being able to challenge and defend points of view in ways that lead to mutual learning and finding common ground. This workshop is "train-the-trainer" style, meaning that participants will be able to pass their skills on to others.

    Participants: Students are welcome to apply.
    Organisers:

    Dare to be Grey

    When: 13.00-15.00, 12 December 2018
    Register: Registration for this event has passed.

    Diversity training for community representatives workshop

    This workshop will begin with an interactive lecture on intersectionality, racism and privilege, to raise awareness. Topics that will be addressed include LGBT+, classism, racism and disability. Inclusion is discussed and the ways in which organisations fail to effectively implement inclusivity. The lecture will take around 1,5 hours. After the lecture, there will be a privilege walk and a roundtable discussion. The goal of the training is humanisation through dialogue and building bridges through realism. Furthermore, the workshop will work toward building (working) relationships on the basis of mutual empathy and promoting self-reflection and awareness. The maximum number of participants is limited to 30.

    Participants: Community representatives: students, faculty and managerial staff per invitation.
    Organisers:

    Sarita Bajnath

    When: 5 December 2018, 14.30-17.30
    Where: Room 1.02

    Diversity & inclusivity and the curriculum workshop

    This is a training session for AUC's Heads of Studies. The workshop will be specifically tailored to questions and challenges that are relevant to managers in higher education. Topics will include ‘moeilijke gesprekken’, curriculum analysis, etc. This will take place after the discrimination and harassment complaints procedure and policy is crystallised. The maximum number of participants for this training is limited to 16.

    Participants: Heads of Studies and Director of Education
    Organisers: VU Learn! academy
    When: November - December 2018