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Race & Ethnic Equality in UCD

Formal signing of the HEA Anti-Racism Principles by UCD President, Professor Orla Feely, 18 September 2023, Monday

On 18 September, the UCD President, Professor Orla Feely signed the HEA Anti-Racism Principles. 

We were delighted to hear from Professor Orla Feely, UCD President, Professor Colin Scott, Vice-President for EDI, Dipti Pandya and Dr Desire Mpanje, co-chairs of the EDI Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness sub-group, and Professor Kalpana Shankar, UCD School of Information and Communication Studies and member of the Athena SWAN Ireland Intersectionality Working Group, Dr Jennie Rothwell, HEA Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.


HEA Anti-Racism Principles

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) launched the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions which aim to harness the power that Irish Higher education institutions (HEIs) have as leaders of positive change in society to challenge racism and race inequality. Irish HEIs have seen a growth in the ethnic diversity of their staff and students, reflective of the diversity in Ireland’s population and these Anti-Racism Principles seek to embed a culture of race equality across higher education. These Principles have been developed through careful consultation with higher education stakeholders and the expert advice of the Athena Swan Ireland Intersectionality Working Group.

The full HEA Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions document is available (opens in a new window)here and  the Principles are outlined below. 

Commitments to Advance Race Equality in Irish Higher Education

By signing up to the Anti-Racism Principles for Irish Higher Education Institutions, HEIs are

committing to the following:

  1. We will embed a commitment to race equality as part of our institutional culture and strategic priorities.
  2. We will highlight the structural, institutional, and historical dimensions of racism which have informed past and current practice in HEIs and the societies in which they are situated.
  3. We will educate our staff and students in relation to the structural, institutional, and historical dimensions of racism, as well as the more commonly recognised individual racism seen in acts of discrimination and abuse.
  4. We will encourage an open dialogue on advancing Race Equality.
  5. We will adopt an intersectional and intercultural approach when developing anti-racism actions and policies.
  6. We will address questions of race equality within the strategic plans of our institutions.
  7. We will record student and staff data disaggregated by ethnicity to inform our anti-racism policies and actions, and to monitor retention and career outcomes for students and staff from minority ethnic groups including Travellers.
  8. We will continue to ensure a fair and transparent recruitment process for all staff, regardless of ethnicity.
  9. We will address race equality issues in relation to progression and retention of students and staff from minority ethnic groups including Travellers.

These commitments align with the policy recommendations under the Race Equality Report. The commitments are phrased to acknowledge ongoing activities and to commit to future actions and objectives which signatories will aspire to meet.

EDI Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness Group, established in 2023

The EDI Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness sub-group was established to prepare a data and research informed action plan to support the achievement of race and ethnicity equality in the University based on the recommendations in the UCD Race and Ethnicity Equality report. For more information about the group, please visit EDI Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness sub-group website.

The objectives of this group include:

  • The development of a race and ethnicity equality action plan for UCD based on the recommendations in the UCD Race and Ethnicity Equality Review Report and submit for approval to UMT. The development of this action plan will include:
    • Engagement with key stakeholders and action owners
    • Reviewing HEA and other relevant reports and documentation
    • Researching best practice nationally and internationally
    • Prioritisation of actions to be delivered.
  • Oversee the implementation of the action plan and maintain progress reports internally and to the HEA as required.
  • Review and monitor relevant data to measure impact of activities and identify any gaps.
  • Identify awareness raising opportunities including celebrating relevant calendar dates and events.
  • Promote a culture where racial harassment and all forms of racism are not tolerated.
  • Consider intersectionality of race/ethnicity with other equality grounds
  • Keep abreast of legislative and other developments in this area.
  • Engage and collaborate with other relevant groups such as the University of Sanctuary Sub-Group and Dignity, Respect Oversight Group and others as appropriate.

How to report an incident

UCD is committed to the promotion of an environment for work and study which upholds the dignity and respect of the individual and which supports every individual’s right to study and/or work in an environment which is free of any form of harassment, intimidation or bullying. ‌If you need to report a racist incident occurred in UCD, you have a range of options, both formal and informal, and supports:

UCD is committed to addressing racism and discrimination and strives to create a culture where these behaviours are not tolerated. The module "Let's Talk about Race in the Higher Education Sector" aims to raise awareness amongst university employees about racism, systemic inequalities and unconscious bias in higher education. Through contributions from experts and testimonials from those who have experienced systemic racism, this module will help employees understand racial bias so that they can take action to address it. Guidance for employees and leadership and further resources are also available as part of the module.

(opens in a new window)Access the programme on LearnUpon (register with your UCD email address)

Visit our page to find out more about other eLearning programmes and LinkedIn Learning material.

The EDI Race and Ethnicity Working Group launched an Anti-Racism campaign which  continued throughout the academic year 2021/22 The campaign #UCDAgainstRacism aimed to raise awareness and show that all members of the University Community have the right to study or work in an environment that it is safe and inclusive and that all form of racism are unacceptable and are not tolerated by UCD. UCD is proud of its inclusive culture which is central to making your time at UCD a positive and welcoming experience. We are committed to follow the UCD values by showing respect for and be inclusive of diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. 

Below is a list of supports available - including our new Dignity and Respect Support Service, as well as the (opens in a new window)UCD Repport and Support Tool

Read the 2022 Race and Ethnicity Report.

Race and Ethnic Equality Working Group, 2020-2022

The Race & Ethnic Equality working group was established in June 2020 to gain a better understanding of UCD’s campus climate in relation to race and ethnic equality and to make recommendations to the EDI Multicultural Group. The group set out a number of key areas of work including awareness raising in the area of race and ethnicity via activities such as consultation events and training, and developing a charter with tangible actions aimed at making UCD an equitable and respectful environment for employees and students of all races and ethnicities. 

The group's work culminated in the publication of the in 2022. In 2023, an EDI Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness sub-group was established to develop an action plan around the recommendations included in the report.

Read the 2022 Race and Ethnicity Report.

Terms of Reference

Information and Resources 

Below is a list of books, documentaries and articles for those who are interested in finding out more about anti-racism or want to support black authors and creators.


  • Kalwant Bhopal White Privilege: the Myth of a Post Racial Society  (Policy Press, 2018)
  • Kalwant Bhopal  The Experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Academics: A Comparative Study of the Unequal Academy  (Routledge, 2015)
  • Sara Ahmed On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life  (Duke University Press, 2012)
  • Ebun Joseph  Critical Race Theory and Inequality in the Labour Market: Racial Stratification in Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2020)
  • Richard Delgado, Jean Stefanic and Angela Harris Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (NYU Press, 3rd ed, 2017)
  • Robin DiAngelo White Fragility (Penguin Books, 2019)
  • Layla Saad and Robin DiAngelo Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World (Quercus, 2020). 
  • Ibram X Kendi How to Be and Antiracist Vintage, 2019)
  • Ibram X Kendi Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Vintage, 2017)
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • Emma Dabiri Don't Touch My Hair (Penguin, 2020)
  • Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Hate U Give, by Angue Thomas
  • Don’t Call Us Dead, by Danez Smith
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  • An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
  • Acker J (2006) Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations. Gender & Society 20(4): 441-464
  • Nkomo SM (1992) The emperor has no clothes: Rewriting “race in organisations”. Academy of Management Journal17(3): 487-513.

(opens in a new window)Best Books by Black Female Authors

(opens in a new window)Great Books by Black Authors

Documentaries and Movies:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • King In The Wilderness — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix 

(opens in a new window)Great Movies by Black American Directors


Understanding the diversity make-up of our University community and obtaining the views of diverse employees and students is essential to inform and drive initiatives and policy development in the area of EDI. To this end, we have been progressing initiatives such as:

  • A new Data system will be launched in June 2020 which will enable UCD to gather quantitative data regarding the diverse make-up of the University community including ethnicity/race
  • UCD issued a University-wide “Working from Home” survey in June 2020, which will be disaggregated by ethnicity to understand the challenges faced by people from minority ethnic backgrounds during COVID-19
  • UCD issues an EDI Survey every two years and data emerging from this survey is disaggregated by ethnicity and analysed to support policy development and initiatives

The University will continue to build on the above activities and identify new initiatives and actions that will deliver on the commitments made by the University to support inclusion and address discrimination. More details will be shared in the future about upcoming training and events.

Contact UCD Equality Diversity and Inclusion

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: edi@ucd.ie