New partnership for Christ Church on racial equality, diversity, and inclusion

12 June 2020

Christ Church has reiterated its condemnation of the deeply offensive remarks made at the recent JCR hustings, which made light of the appalling death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The past week and a half has been very painful for our community, not only because of the incident at the hustings, but also as a result of the anger and hurt that emerged in the days that followed. These reactions mirrored those of so many throughout the country, and the world, all set against the backdrop of that initial, reprehensible event in the United States.

We need to think about what has happened and why – but not just in response to recent events. Following an urgent meeting of our Equality and Diversity Committee which included additional student representatives, we undertook to look for an external organisation with appropriate expertise to help us start a conversation that will lead not just to words but also to actions, as we bring our community back together. From detailed conversations with a range of charities and organisations over the past week, we are now working with Femi Otitoju, the founder of Challenge Consultancy, to develop a series of listening events in the coming weeks for all students, as well as for all staff, both academic and non-academic.

These will be designed to help us reflect respectfully, openly and honestly, and to help us find new ways to talk about race, to listen and learn, and to identify positive steps we can take to address issues around racial equality, diversity, and inclusion. After these meetings have taken place, we will develop a long-term action plan with the aim of making Christ Church a leader within Oxford on this all-important front.

A worldwide movement to tackle racism at its root has now emerged. We want to make sure that Christ Church—all of Christ Church—plays a crucial role in finding new ways forward.