King’s College Council: statement regarding the experiences of College and University members and visitors entering the College.
King’s College prides itself on its reputation as a progressive, friendly and intellectually vibrant institution. Our aim is to provide a welcoming and non-discriminatory environment for all our students, staff, University colleagues and visitors, now numbering in total around a million a year.
We were therefore very distressed to become aware, earlier in the year, of suggestions of discrimination, and related reports of a number of incidents of racial profiling involving those wishing to visit the College, as well as members of the University passing through the College and members of our own College community. There have been few complaints made directly to us, but it has become clear in discussion with our students and staff that there has been a reluctance to complain. We are aware that those who might wish to draw an incident of this sort to our attention might feel least confident in doing so.
We recognise that the processes for informing us about such incidents or making a complaint need modification and substantial improvement. This we are determined to achieve. Our students and minority officers will be working with us over the next few weeks to develop a clearer and simpler means of reporting incidents, while maintaining anonymity when that is appropriate; we will also review the procedures for handling complaints, to ensure that these are fit for purpose and equipped to respond to all expressions of grievance or concern.
All our Visitor Guides and Porters have appropriate training, including unconscious bias training, and we have instituted a number of further measures to improve communication and trust between staff, visitors and students, including meetings with new students and Visitor Guides. Closures of the College will be announced as widely as possible in advance to minimise any confusion at the gate.
A working party including the Senior Tutor, BME student representatives, Fellows and staff will soon be meeting to discuss further initiatives.
16 October 2018