Our higher education institutions share a commitment to equality and diversity. In theory, this means they are united in their aim to create a balanced and inclusive culture, in which everyone, staff and students, feels valued irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age or ability. The latest HEPI / HEA Student Academic Experience Survey, however, reveals a striking difference in wellbeing levels between straight students and those classifying themselves as Gay, Bisexual, Asexual or Other. Students from non-White ethnic backgrounds also report lower levels of satisfaction with their higher education experience. Are our universities failing in their mission to reflect the diversity of wider society? Is the hyper-selectivity of some institutions reinforcing inequality in the sector instead of eliminating it? And what could universities be doing to promote inclusivity in the future?
Chris Millward, new Director for Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students
Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford, Chancellor, Coventry University
Professor Kalwant Bhopal, Professorial Research Fellow / Professor of Education and Social Justice, Deputy Director Centre for Research in Race & Education (CRRE), University of Birmingham