Home Page contact details / customer service unit maps and directions to York College Calendar of Events York College facebook site Twitter   Ofsted Outstanding College logo
spacer Home spacer Employers spacer Parents spacer Alumni spacer What's On spacer Facilities spacer Student Life spacer About Us spacer Job Vacancies spacer Intranet spacer Contact Us spacer Directions
 
search COURSE SEARCH keywords
 
     
 
Equality and Diversity
Home Page Contacts Cultural Knowledge Diversity Calendars Equality, Diversity and You Events and Training FAQs Jargon Buster Legislation Links Quizzes York College Information York College Partnerships

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equality and Diversity News

Equality and Diversity News highlights news stories from York College as well as national news. We also archive past news stories that have appeared on our site. Disclaimer: Stories have been included as they may be of interest to students and staff. Their inclusion is not an endorsement of the views expressed by the writer.

Equality and Human Rights Commission 

Sign up for the EHRC  monthly newsletter which is packed with cutting edge news relating to equality, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age, transgender, human rights and much more.

Follow this link to sign up

 

 

 

Archive York College News Stories - 2008-2009

Youngest ever female sidecar passenger

Two students visit Auschwitz

Creating an oasis of calm for students of all faiths

Speed Languages Afternoon at Barlby Community Primary School

City of Faiths Survey

Adam, the Boccia Champion

There's always 'Hope'

Interactive Diversity

Japanese Day

Employers discriminate against foreign-sounding names

Gender balance drives success at Cisco

Seminar highlights the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

The Gypsy Exception

Student Life: One Long Holiday?

Equality Bill to 'make Britain fairer'

The Equality Bill Q&A

Equality Bill Overview

 

Vicky Cooke, youngest ever female sidecar passenger

 


spacer

Archive York College News Stories - 2007-2009

York College Apprentice and Tutor Bag Excellence Medals

York College leads £500,000 Equality and Diversity Project

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson opens new £60 million college

German Engineering Exchange in York

The new £60 million York College opens

Lord Winston Opens Science area in new York College

York College Smoking Policy

York College send aid to Ghana

Chinese New Year - ‘Hello Mum and Dad!’

spacer

Archive National News stories - 2007-2009

Win for Disability Rights Women

Dr Sentamu in dog collar protest against Mugabe

Islam Awareness Week

Mother who died after refusing transfusion

En garde, you sexless, workshy, unwashed Frenchies

Week of Prayer for World Peace

spacer

Youngest ever female sidecar passenger

Vicky Cooke became the youngest ever female passenger in Sidecar Championship history when she competed in her first sidecar race on her 16th birthday.

Vicky and her stepfather became British Classic Sidecar Champions 2009, clinching the title in the final race of the season at Cobwell Park, Louth.

Said Vicky “I’m really proud to have won the championship with my stepfather. He’s been racing for 40 years and won many championships in the past, so I’m proud to have lived up to the family reputation. My brother is also into racing and has won trophies so I’m really happy to finally have one of my own!”

Vicky became the youngest ever female passenger in Sidecar Championship history when she competed in her first sidecar race on her 16th birthday. To add to her achievements Vicky also won ‘Best Passenger of the Year’ for 2009!

 

 

spacer

Current York College News Stories

Two students visit Auschwitz

Two York College students have visited Auschwitz. Both Matt Labunda and Rachel Leighton participated in a pre-visit seminar, the visit to Auschwitz and a post-visit seminar. Their final task was to disseminate the information and their personal experiences to another audience. Mat chose to deliver a lecture at college, whereas Rachel chose to write the following article about her experience.

On April 29, Matt and I went on a visit to Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz project. We had attended a seminar the week before where we heard testimonies from two Holocaust survivors and discussed Jewish life before the Nazi's took over. Hearing the testimonies was incredibly moving and intended to prepare us for what we would experience on our visit to the concentration camps, but I left questioning how one could prepare to visit a place like Auschwitz.

Most of our group had said they were very apprehensive about the visit, and this was clear as we waited in Leeds Bradford airport at 5am. Nobody knew what to say, and everyone was deep in their own thoughts. When we arrived at Krakow, we drove to a Jewish cemetary outside the Polish town of Oswiecim which has been restored after the Nazi's had been removed from power. The Nazi's had dug up the headstones in the graveyard and used them as paving stones in hope to erase Judaism from history. A couple of miles away another group were visiting the site where there had once been a Synagogue, only discovered recently as the Nazi's had destroyed all records so efficiently.

Our next visit was to Auschwitz I, now a museum. To witness the shoes, suitcases, clothes and hair of those murdered at the extermination camps was incredibly emotional. The statistics we read in text books are impersonal, but behind those numbers were innocent individuals persecuted because of the extremist ideals of one man. Our last visit of the day was to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most recognised image of the Holocaust, where gas chambers, living barracks and crematoria remain as evidence of what took place there.

Before we returned to Krakow for our flight home, Rabbi Barry Marcus led a memorial service at the site to reflect on our experiences during the day through Jewish prayer, poems of Holocaust survivors and encouraging us to think about what we can take from the visit. As we walked back along the railway lines with our memorial candles alight, I discovered what the trip had taught me. I realised that amongst all the misery, there is so much hope that can be taken away from places such as Auschwitz. I realised that as individuals we had a responsibility to challenge acts of discrimination and encourage tolerance of others to ensure that acts of hatred like the Holocaust are never allowed to happen again.

Rachel Leighton
A Level History

Back to top

spacer

Creating an oasis of calm for students of all faiths

The room is sparsely furnished and there are no visible signs that its use is soley for spiritual purposes. Religious artefacts and books - including the Koran, the Torah and the Bible - are stored away and brought out only when staff and students wish to use them.

Follow this link to read the full article.

Back to top

spacer

Speed Languages Afternoon at Barlby Community Primary School

International students from York College took part in a “Speed Languages Afternoon” organised by Barlby Community Primary School in Selby. The students, who follow a variety of different courses at college, originate from countries as far away as China, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. They spent the afternoon with the pupils from Barlby, answering questions about their home countries and teaching a few words of their languages, which included Russian, Tamil, Norwegian, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Rob Taylor, Head of Barlby Primary School expressed his appreciation to the students and staff of York College saying: “It was a wonderful opportunity for the children not only to meet people whose first language is not English but also to hear a variety of different languages, that in normal circumstances, they would not hear spoken. Appreciation of other people’s languages and cultures is vital for children growing up in an increasingly pluralistic society.”

Sandra Rowley, Head of Division for Languages at York College said: “We were delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile event. Not only did it help to raise cultural awareness and interest in language learning among children, but was also an excellent opportunity for our students to enhance their experiences of life in the UK.”

Back to top

spacer

City of Faiths Survey

City of Faiths logo

The York: City of Faiths Initiative was launched in March 2006 to demonstrate a commitment to working together between the local faith communities, learning institutions, the City of York Council and several non-governmental organizations.

In the last two years many celebratory, educational and spiritual events have been organized by the local faith communities: many York citizens have to come to participate and discover more about the distinct and diverse religious identities of the peoples of York.

As part of the ‘York: City of Faiths Initiative’ a five year plan has been agreed for how the faith communities of York and their supporters can work together to help increase awareness of the religions represented among York citizens.

One part of that plan, sponsored by the City Council, is to undertake a Faiths Survey in York. The York Faiths Survey will be launched on 26 March 2009 and run for four months. Citizens of York and the City’s religious organizations will be invited to complete the online survey if they want to put on the record what activities they are involved with.

The survey will be completed by the end of the summer. The City of York Council will sponsor the publication of the results and then, in collaboration with the Faith communities, begin to plan a public celebration of the diversity of religions present in the City. It has not been decided exactly what form such festivities would take, but it is anticipated that some significant event will take place in the City during 2010.

Recent evidence suggests that York has one of the fastest growing levels of diversity in the country. This is something that has to be good for our city since it means that the City of York is proving itself to be welcoming to the diversity of visitors, tourists and business partners from across the UK including those who choose to settle here.

Follow this link to take the survey.

Back to top

spacer

 

Adam, the Boccia Champion

Adam Stafford

First Diploma Media student, Adam Stafford, who has Cerebral Palsy, recently competed in the National Junior Boccia Championships, with great success. The event was held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Adam competed with over 100 players aged between 12 and 26 years old, and came a proud second in the individual event and went on to further glory by helping the Yorkshire side win the team event. 

Said Adam: “I’ve been playing Boccia for about 3 years now. I first got into playing when taking part in disabilities sports days at secondary school and during PE lessons. Playing for the Yorkshire team has been great, I’ve been able to travel all over the country to play. In the future I hope to go on and play Boccia at national level for my country. It’s been really easy to get into and practice, I’ve even started to teach my Gran to play!”.

Boccia is a target game similar to French boules and is designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities affecting motor skills. Boccia is a Paralympic sport and is fast becoming one of the most played sports for disabled people.

Back to top

spacer

There's always 'Hope'

York College student, Suzanne Dekker, has won the Warm Glass UK Glass Prize 2008 (student catergory).  Her winning art work, entitled ‘Hope’ which was featured in the last issue of Atrium, features glass feathers floating in the air and communicates a special message.  ‘Hope’ is currently on display in the Student Services

Suzanne (aged 42) is in the 2nd year of a BA Contemporary 3D Craft course at York College.  She is also a mother of three and holds down an administrator’s job at the University of York.  Her winning piece is the result of a project entitled ‘Discreet Messages’; communicating a message through a piece of art work.  ‘Hope’ is a tribute to her late father, Pieter Dekker, who worked at York College in the motor engineering department for a number of years.  The discreet message is one of hope to people who have lost someone.

Says Suzanne:  “I was amazed to win this prize and I will put the winnings towards buying my first glass kiln.  My Dad was a huge creative influence on me, and I see his creativity running through the family.  My seventeen year old daughter, Danielle, is also at York College studying for a National Diploma in Contemporary Crafts. 

As a result of enjoying various art & design evening classes at York College my tutors encouraged me to embark on the degree course, which I absolutely love.  I hope to use my degree to progess my research in glass.”

Back to top

spacer

Interactive Diversity

As part of a wide ranging series of equality & diversity training sessions, National Diploma Uniformed Public Services, and Health & Social Care students at York College met with an organisation called York People First (a independent self-advocacy group for people with learning difficulties and physical disabilities), who spoke about their own experiences and presented an interactive drama performance, entitled ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, depicting their lives in society today.

Uniformed Public Services student, Ian Thompson said: “York People First presented information and different views about people with learning difficulties and disabilities.  It was an eye-opening experience for us to find out what life is really like for them.”

Said Steve Walters, Uniformed Public Services tutor: “The majority of the students watching want to forge a career in the public services and this performance gave them a deeper understanding of the world they live in.  As a result, they will be better equipped, when they leave York College, to provide a fairer and effective service to the future communities they are hoping to serve.”

Sandra Gilpin of York People First said: “Our group is made up of people with learning difficulties who want to speak up for themselves and be responsible for themselves.  We welcome the opportunity to pass on our experiences to others.”

Back to top

spacer

Japanese Day

Higher York organised a special celebration to mark the strong links York has with Japan and the 150th anniversary of the signing of the anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce.  The event was held at York St John University in the presence of Mr Wataru Nishigahiro, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Embassy of Japan. York College played an active role by giving a presentation on the strength and development of the engineering and millinery partnerships we have nurtured with Japan.

Back to top

spacer

Current National News Stories

Employers discriminate against foreign-sounding names

Government research reveals racial bias in candidate shortlists
Claire Churchard
Publication date: 19 October 2009
Source:
PM Online
People with foreign-sounding names face discrimination from employers, covert government research has found.

Researchers working for the Department for Work and Pensions said that people with African and Asian names had to apply for 16 jobs before getting an interview. But applicants with ‘white’ names only had to apply for nine jobs before getting an interview.

Nearly 3,000 job applications with false identities were sent out to assess levels of employer discrimination against people with foreign names. CVs used names from three different communities: Nazia Mahmood, Mariam Namagembe and Alison Taylor.

The applications were created with similar experience and qualifications and every false applicant had a British education and work history.

Jim Knight, minister for employment and welfare reform, called the results “shocking” and said he was considering barring employers found guilty of racial discrimination from applying for government contracts.

Knight said: “This research clearly shows that some employers are discriminating when it comes to choosing staff. This has no place in a modern society and racial discrimination cannot be allowed to continue.

“We introduced laws to stop discrimination at work and strengthened them in 2000. We also introduced new diversity and equality requirements in DWP contracts with suppliers.

“We are determined to stop this scourge on society - the equality bill will strengthen our hand and we are already preparing to publish specific plans for dealing with discrimination in the workplace later this year.”

But the British Chambers of Commerce said there were limitations to the results because the researchers only used nine occupations. It also questioned whether the number of replies received constituted a representative sample.

A total of 2,961 CVs were sent to private, public and voluntary sector employers of varying sizes. The results showed that public sector vacancies, which usually use standard application forms, did not discriminate at the initial recruitment stage. This suggests that discrimination might be reduced by the use of standard application forms.

Sandra Kerr, national campaign director at Race for Opportunity, called the findings “shocking, but not surprising”.
“Accepting that this is a problem is an important first step and I hope this report will lead to an open dialogue between government and employers.

“In the current climate of rising unemployment, we must act swiftly to eradicate race bias and prevent the ethnic minority employment gap from widening further. This is not the time for employers to bury their heads in the sand.”

spacer

Gender balance drives success at Cisco

Eighty-eight per cent prefer working in mixed teams
Claire Churchard

9 November 2009
PM Online
A board-level decision to make IT firm Cisco a more “gender balanced” company has already produced innovation and new business, PM has learnt.

Nikki Walker, director of inclusion and diversity for European markets at Cisco, told PM that this had been possible because diversity was viewed as crucial to the business rather than “just a HR programme”.
Walker came to the role not from an HR background, but via finance and operations roles at Cisco.
“My current role was created about 18 months ago. When I was approached by Chris Dedicoat, president of European markets, he said he wanted to drive diversity change from a business perspective. For him it wasn’t about an HR programme, it was about making Cisco more inclusive so we can recruit the best talent and connect with our customers.”

She added that she would not have accepted the job if it hadn’t been backed by a strong business case. “That’s the reason why I sit where I do, on the European board. We want diversity to be taken seriously and perceived as a business imperative.”

One important step forward has been the creation of Action Learning Forums (ALFs), a series of leadership development groups that produce ideas for the business but also promote diversity. Walker explained: “I am a firm believer that we shouldn’t have diversity initiatives, instead diversity should feed through everything we do. So the ALFs are leadership development programmes but we consciously put diverse teams on it. It’s a director-level training programme but one that drives innovation and creates new business units.”
She said that some “amazing innovation” had already been produced, such as the Smart Grid eco-initiative, which helps reduce energy consumption across electricity grids.

To boost the diversity discussion further, the company commissioned a survey looking at the working styles of each sex. Walker said the survey aimed to educate the majority of staff, white men, about the different working styles of the sexes and how to get the best results.

The majority of survey respondents (88 per cent), both men and women, said they preferred working in mixed teams. Meanwhile, a similar number preferred mainly male teams to mainly female teams.
Women were shown to be more likely to have experienced conflict in the workplace, as 55 per cent said they had faced conflict compared with 46 per cent of men. Walker commented that this was likely to be an issue of perception, which had implications for management style. Women also take longer to recover from conflict and 41 per cent of those said it took more than a month to recover.

Walker said: “We’ve moved this [diversity] away from being an issue of sexual stereotypes to being a mainstream business imperative where everyone needs to be involved for greater business success.”

spacer

Seminar highlights the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

University of Cambridge News Service
www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2009062604, 27 June 2009

In East Anglia, the largest group of people described as BME (black and minority ethnic) are the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Historically, little has been achieved in reaching out to these groups in terms of access to higher education. Indeed, many do not complete secondary school.

A seminar aiming to raise awareness of the needs of these groups took place at the University of Cambridge in June. The event, called Not in my Day, was organised by the University's Equality and Diversity team and was attended by around 50 people from within the University and beyond. Speakers included members of the Gypsy Traveller and Roma communities as well as educationalists and academics.

Gypsy Traveller, story-teller and writer, Richard O'Neill, who has recently had a play broadcast on Radio 4, talked about his experiences of growing up in a caravan and attending 32 different schools in an eight-year period, leaving school for good at the age of 13. He described being raised within an oral tradition and how his ability to read and write made him a bit of a "celebrity" within his own community.

Now settled in a house, as are many other travellers, Mr O'Neill described the negative reactions he had encountered when his neighbours found out about his background. "We've got to challenge perceptions and ask not whether Travellers are good enough for our educational establishments but whether our educational establishments are good enough for travellers," he said.

Margaret Wood, Manager of the Traveller Education Team at Cambridgeshire County Council, gave an overview of the local picture. She also stressed the importance of monitoring the educational progress of communities in developing successful outreach programmes. Her team currently works with around 1,100 school age children over the course of a school year.

A third of Cambridgeshire primary and two-thirds of Cambridgeshire secondary schools have Gypsy Roma and Traveller pupils. Retention rates, however, are poor: while 97 per cent of school age children enrol at primary school, only 70 per cent transfer to secondary school and just 60 per cent complete their secondary education.

Kevin Coutinho, Consultant for the Equality and Diversity team said: "When we were contacted by Richard O'Neill about holding a conference, we were keen to provide a forum for discussions and bring together those involved in this field. We were especially fortunate in having representatives from the local Gypsy Roma and Traveller community as well as from the public and educational sectors among our speakers."

Tony Smith, a Traveller in his 20s who has a degree in education and is a qualified teacher, talked about the importance of introducing children to the idea of higher education at an early age - "there's no point in targeting 16-year-olds". He also touched on the rift between local communities and said that he was constantly amazed at "how terrified people are to go onto a Traveller site to talk to people".

Professor Thomas Acton, Professor of Romani Studies at the University of Greenwich, gave a historic perspective on Gypsy Roma and Traveller education. He urged schools, colleges and universities to think about incorporating Romani culture into the formal curriculum. He also spoke about the importance of role models, but warned that Gypsy Roma and Traveller students should not be pressured to talk about their ethnicity.

Kevin said that he hoped the conference had helped to forge links and encourage new projects as well as challenge prejudices. "It was a chance for all of us to face up to our stereotypes and prejudices - and hear a range of speakers talk about their own experiences," he said.

Back to top

spacer

The Gypsy Exception

Richard R. O'Neill
The Guardian
14 November 2007

"My mother said I never should/ Play with Gypsies in the wood." That old rhyme used to be taught to children as a warning to stay away from Gypsies. Of course they didn't have things like inclusion, diversity and a multicultural society for most of the last century. Anyway, a group of outsiders appearing in your village - even if they were there to sell much-needed products and specialist labour like blacksmithing - was bound to cause alarm, wasn't it?

But we know better now than to generalise about a whole race. Or do we? The Children's Society reports that nearly nine out of 10 children and young people from a Gypsy background have suffered racial abuse. Nearly two-thirds (63%) have also been bullied or physically attacked.

I have personal experience of this, having attended almost 30 schools as a child and now hundreds more as a visiting storyteller and diversity trainer. I know that there is a deep-rooted fear and loathing of Travelling people, and an acceptance that it is still acceptable to openly discriminate and to make jokes about our culture and ethnicity. I don't blame the children: in fact they are often completely shocked when they find out how hurtful their behaviour is. No, we have to look further than the children, to teachers, parents, governors and the media. No real row ensued when Marco Pierre White used the term "pikey" on ITV, which sent a very clear message that there is a definite hierarchy where racism is concerned, with Gypsies very firmly at the bottom.

When challenged about their hatred and fear of Gypsies, most people can't give a genuine reason. Often the best they can do is a "well, everyone knows what they are like, don't they?" This attitude led one young Gypsy in a secondary school in the north to tell everyone that he was Asian rather than Gypsy.

Think hard about the last time you heard, read or saw something positive about a Gypsy Traveller person. What about something negative? That's much easier. Take, for example, the recent case in Italy of Nicolae Mailat, a Romanian Roma Gypsy who admits to attacking Giovanna Reggiani, a 47-year-old Italian naval officer's wife, in northern Rome. Early reports suggested that she had been tortured, raped, robbed and ferociously beaten. In fact, she was neither tortured nor raped, though the attack was a horrific one from which she died two days later. Mailat admits he snatched her bag, but denies murder. His Roma neighbours say he is mentally disturbed.

Whatever the truth about this crime - and I know of no Gypsy person who would even attempt to excuse it - it has given racists an excuse to perpetrate equally vicious crimes. A band of thugs beat up and stabbed three Romanians in a Rome suburb. Several immigrant encampments were flattened with bulldozers, and the violence and abuse towards Roma shows no signs of abating. Did this happen in Spain to British expats when one of them was accused of murder?

But back to the UK. What harm can a bit of name-calling do to Gypsy children, eh? Ask the mother of 15-year-old Johnny Delaney, who was kicked to death by a group of boys in 2003. As the final kick to his head was delivered, one of the attackers told a witness: "He deserved it; he's only a fucking Gyppo."

Back to top

spacer

Student life: one long holiday?

Jessica Shepherd
The Guardian
5 May 2009

A student belonging to the Wicca religion, whose followers revere nature, profess psychic powers and practise ritual magic, asked her university for time off this February. She wanted to honour Imbolc - a celebration of the goddess of fire, fertility and healing, and one of the eight major holy days of her faith.
The festival was not on the University of Hertfordshire's faith calendar. But, after some discussion, it agreed to her request.

Others have been less fortunate. Orthodox Jewish student Joel Raivid says he had no other option than to threaten legal action when, in 2008, Hertfordshire insisted he sat one of his finals on a Saturday - the Jewish Sabbath - or at a later resit. It was only then that the university backed down and agreed he could sit the exam a day early.

When Qasim Rafiq asked his lecturer if a weekly chemistry module could be rescheduled because it clashed with Muslim Friday prayers, he was told, he says, that "nothing could be done" and "this had been a problem for about 10 years". His university, in London, went on to arrange an exam in the module for the same slot: Friday between 1pm and 2pm.

Head in the sand
Some universities "may be burying their heads in the sand" when it comes to accommodating students and staff with religious obligations, says Gary Loke, senior adviser on race, religion and belief at the Equality Challenge Unit, which promotes equality and diversity in higher education.

But will they be able to bury their heads for much longer? The equality bill now going through parliament will place a legal requirement on universities to actively consult with and address the concerns of students and staff from all religions and none. Under current legislation, universities must ensure they do not disadvantage religious groups unless there are just reasons to do so. So far they have been under no obligation to listen to or seek to hear groups' concerns.

Just what "consult with" and "address" will mean is, as yet, anyone's guess - the bill is still in its consultation period. But the potential changes for universities are enormous.

Will they all go down the route chosen by the University of Bradford, and never schedule an exam on a major religious festival attended by "large numbers" of its students, or between 1pm and 3pm on a Friday - the communal prayer time for Muslims? Or will they take the lead from the University of Westminster and never arrange a test or exam between 1pm and 2pm on any day of the week, at the weekend, or in the late afternoon on a Friday, so that - for students and staff of most faiths - there can be no clashes with prayer times and the Sabbath?

Loke agrees that for now the bill raises more questions than it answers. The very least we can expect, he says, is for more universities to set up "religion and belief working groups" made up of staff and students from different faiths and of no faith.

Today, in an attempt to start the discussion and calm universities' nerves, the Equality Challenge Unit has sent institutions guidance on how they can best avoid conflict with their religious students and staff as far as timetabling lectures and exams is concerned. The guidance states that universities should use a faith calendar when timetabling exams and important dates such as the start of term, which often clashes with Jewish festivals. But they should be aware that - as in the case of the Wiccan student - not all festivals may be on the calendar.

"The first weeks of the first term are important for students to acclimatise," the guidance says. "Arranging key induction events on religious holy days in these first few weeks can impact negatively on some students' experiences."

The guidance urges universities to consult religious leaders and chaplains before publishing exam schedules and lecture timetables. Universities should establish interfaith groups made up of staff and students, the guidance states, and ensure "good communication" between students and lecturers so that students who miss lectures can catch up and "cause minimal disruption to a class".

These are excellent and practical ideas, says Kea Horvers, equality and diversity officer for St George's, University of London. Her university created a faith calendar in November. But, she says, whether a university is accepting of a student's religious belief depends to a large extent on the people working there.

Secular argument
"At my university we have people who take a very practical and good-natured response," she says. "But in some universities they will hold up their hands in horror and get into debates about the university being a secular institution."

The idea that universities should never schedule lectures or exams between 1pm and 3pm on a Friday to avoid a clash with Muslim communal prayer is "lovely, but not practical", she says. "Some 150 exams are scheduled per year at St George's. It would be very difficult to do that."

In addition, most universities have very little idea how many students and staff they have of different faiths, as they do not ask them what faith they belong to. In order to "consult with" and "address the concerns" of these students, as the bill states, it may be necessary to find out. The Equality Challenge Unit's guidance recommends that universities "gather information at registration", but students may ignore this question or object to it.

But statistics on religious groups and the timetabling of exams and lectures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to "fostering good relations" and "equality of opportunity".

"There is much activity that happens on campus which is arguably antisemitic, but which is not widely recognised as antisemitic," says David Hirsh, a sociology lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. "University administrators will increasingly have to make judgments and intervene in order to fulfil their new obligations."

Back to top

spacer

Equality Bill to 'make Britain fairer'

By Alan Jones, PA
The Independent
Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Nine major laws and 100 other regulations will be replaced by a single Equality Bill which the Government pledged will strengthen discrimination legislation and tackle the gender pay gap, it was announced today.

Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality, said the economic downturn would not hold back the "tough" new measures, which include powers to ban discrimination against older people in the provision of goods and services.

The Bill will ban "secrecy clauses" so workers can compare their wages and challenge employers who unlawfully pay them less.

The move is aimed at tackling the gender pay gap, which the Government estimates is 21 per cent when the wages of full and part-time women workers are compared with men.

Almost a quarter of firms ban their staff from talking about their pay, with women more likely to be in the dark about wage rates, the Government said.

Public bodies will have to report on any pay inequalities, while ministers will look at how the £175bn spent by the public sector on British businesses can be used to deliver more transparency over pay.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will conduct a series of inquiries into pay, starting in the financial services sector, which has a gender pay gap of 41 per cent, and the construction industry, where ethnic minorities represent just 2.5 per cent of workers, compared with 8 per cent in other parts of the economy, it was announced.

Positive action on employing staff will be "entirely optional", but as long as candidates are equally suitable and there is evidence of under-representation, the Bill will allow employers to appoint someone from a group that is under-represented in their workforce.

For example, a primary school may want to increase the number of male teachers who act as role models to young boy pupils.

Ms Harman said: "This Government is unconditionally committed to equality. We're not going to put it on the back burner just because times are difficult. Fairness and equality are enduring principles of basic human dignity, and fairness doesn't cost anything.

"Equality is not only important for the individual, but for society and the economy. If there are unequal societies marred by prejudice and discrimination, then people feel excluded, communities feel resentful, and you don't have a society which is at ease with itself.

"Equality is vital for a modern economy, so that nobody is excluded and it can draw on the widest possible pool of talent, with everybody contributing. That's why we will bring forward our tough new Equality Bill to make Britain fairer."

The Bill, which will cover Britain, will replace the Equal Pay Act, Sex Discrimination Act, Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act and other pieces of legislation dating back 40 years.

Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, said: "The Bill is a vital piece of legislation and should be used to lay the groundwork for real fairness and equality for the 21st century.

"It will introduce important steps towards a fairer workplace, but it is disappointing that it misses a very real opportunity to make changes to the law that would deliver equal pay and cut out the need for lengthy legal action.

"The current equality laws are too complex, too weak and ineffective. Thousands of working women will still be short-changed because of the gender pay gap."

Jackie Orme, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: "While we welcome the simplification and clarification of existing discrimination legislation, the Government must be under no illusions that this will solve the problem on its own.

"Government should ensure new regulations are supported by clear, practical and user-friendly guidance for employers which promotes the business case for diversity."

The Equality Bill Q&A

Back to top

spacer

Equality Bill Overview

Goverment proposals to 'declutter' and 'strengthen' discrimination law

By Diane Gilhooley

From Times Higher Education - 3 July 2008

The Government recently presented to Parliament its proposals for a new "Equality Bill". The Bill intends to consolidate the numerous pieces of existing discrimination legislation into one Act and to introduce further responsibilities in a bid to outlaw all forms of discrimination.

In the report published by the Government Equalities Office (Framework for a Fairer Future - The Equality Bill), the Government explains why it believes it is necessary to 'declutter' current discrimination legislation: "Our discrimination laws have helped us make progress on equality but, because they have developed over more than 40 years, they have become extremely complex. There are currently nine major pieces of discrimination legislation, around 100 statutory instruments setting out connected rules and regulations and more than 2,500 pages of guidance and statutory codes of practice. The Bill will declutter what has become a thicket of legislation and guidance."

The report goes on to identify those areas where the law is to be strengthened. The proposals, which will be subject to public consultation, can be summarised as follows:

--The introduction of a new single equality duty for public authorities, replacing the three existing duties in relation to sex, race and disability. This new equality duty will also be extended to cover religion and belief, sexual orientation and age. The precise content of the duty is unknown as yet and further consultation is promised, although it is likely that it will include a duty to publish information about gender pay gaps, ethnic minority employment and employment of people with disabilities. The Government has stopped short of extending a similar obligation to the private sector.

--The outlawing of discrimination on the ground of age in the provision of goods and services. This is intended to extend protection against discrimination on the ground of age in the workplace to, for example, the delivery of health and social care and access to financial services.

--Increasing transparency in relation to equality issues. The rationale offered by the Government is that "to tackle inequality, we must be able to see it". One aspect of this is an attempt to increase transparency of private-sector organisations through the public-sector procurement process. In this way, it seems that it is intended that the public sector will have a role to play in encouraging diversity in the private sector through the provision of public-sector contracts. According to the reports, 30 per cent of British companies are contracted by the public sector, and the Government wishes to increase the pressure on businesses bidding for public-sector contracts by requiring them to be more transparent in relation to equality issues. Again, the details have not yet been decided upon and further consultation has been promised. However, it seems likely that information on pay gaps and the employment of ethnic minorities may have to be disclosed as part of any organisation's bid to contract with public bodies.

A further notable element of this proposal is to outlaw clauses in employment contracts that prevent employees from discussing their pay. The Government believes that pay inequalities are less likely to be identified if employees are not able to discuss their pay openly with others.

--One of the most controversial parts of the proposed Bill is the right for employers to take positive action when selecting between two equally qualified candidates. This would permit employers to base their recruitment decisions on, for example, sex or ethnicity where there is underrepresentation in the workforce of that particular group and they are faced with two or more equally suitable candidates for an available role. If this proposal is introduced, it would represent a significant departure from existing laws that do not currently permit this type of 'positive discrimination' in the employment context.

--Extending enforcement powers for employment tribunals in discrimination cases. This includes a proposal to allow tribunals to make recommendations in individual cases that apply not just to the claimant but to the whole of the employer's workforce. This could have significant implications for employers and would inevitably raise the stakes in any potential discrimination proceedings.

The Government has indicated that it intends to introduce the Bill in the next parliamentary session. However, stakeholders, including employer groups, will have an important role to play over the coming months in shaping these ambitious proposals.

Back to top

spacer

 

Archive York College News Stories

 

York College Apprentice and Tutor Bag Excellence Medals

York College Stonemasonry apprentice Leonie Driver, and Bricklaying Tutor Mike Burdett, have scooped City & Guilds Medals for Excellence awards in recognition of their exceptional work.

The City & Guilds Medals for Excellence programme rewards talented students or educational professionals who have displayed exceptional standards, and whose portfolio and achievements put them a cut above the rest.

Leonie, who works for Treasure & Son Ltd in Ludlow , scooped the award due to her outstanding performance on the NVQ Level 3 Stonemasonry course . The City & Guilds judging panel commented: ‘Leonie has shown determination and originality in her coursework and has achieved very high standards. ”

Mike Burdett was chosen to receive the coveted City & Guilds Medal of Excellence for his exceptional teaching. Mike is one of only 17 lecturers throughout the UK and Ireland to be honoured this year. The judging panel commented: “Mike is very knowledgeable and passionate about his subject and this has helped him achieve success and encourage others.”

Leonie and Mike will be presented with their awards at a City & Guilds ceremony at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on 14 th March.

Leonie says “I am pleased and really proud to to receive a City & Guilds Medal of Excellence. The stonemasonry course at York College is hard work but the tutors are excellent and the facilities, especially in the new college, are first-class. I also feel fully supported by my employer.”

Mike says “This is great news, I'm proud and pleased to be able to pass on my interest in building to York College learners. The Bricklaying team at York College inspire others to succeed, it's what we are all about.”

Leonie and Mike are now in the running to win one of eight prestigious Lion Awards, dubbed the ‘education Oscars', which will be announced later this year at a gala event to celebrate learning, success and achievement, at the Brewery, in London .

Press Release date: 01/03/08

Back to top

spacer

York College leads £500,000 Equality and Diversity Project

York College is leading a £500,000 Equality & Diversity project to encourage universities and other training providers in West Yorkshire to incorporate Equality & Diversity materials in their leadership and management programmes.

The ‘Business Case’ project, funded by the Learning & Skills Council and Yorkshire Forward, demonstrates the necessity for, and importance of Equality & Diversity in the world of Business and Management. The project aims to encourage those who are newly qualified in, or entering, the sector to incorporate Equality & Diversity in their working lives.

York College’s Equality & Diversity team are working alongside The Fairplay Partnership, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Leeds, Bradford University and the Northern Leadership Academy to deliver the project. They are producing courses and training materials to be included in the leadership and management programmes currently being taught in West Yorkshire. Any providers in the region who would like information on the project please contact Julie Kitching on 01904 770309.

Julie Kitching, Diversity Development Advisor at York College stated ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious contract and understand that there is national as well as regional interest in the outcomes of the project.’

Helen Thomson, head of communities at Yorkshire Forward explains; “Our region’s economy is growing but with such a diverse population it will only continue to do so if the talents of every individual are maximised. That is why it is important that our region’s businesses understand the benefits of embracing equality and diversity in their workforce and I am confident that this initiative will help us to achieve this.”

Previously York College has successfully delivered a range of LSC funded equality and diversity learning provider and employer projects supported by a suite of E-quality toolkits developed by the college. Currently a SMEs and Rurality project is being delivered across North Yorkshire and Humber whereby team leaders and managers are being coached in the business benefits of equality and diversity.

Back to top

spacer

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson opens new £60 million college

Paralympic athlete DameTanni Grey-Thompson officially opened the new £60 million
York College on Friday 14th December 2007.

Guests enjoyed a champagne reception sponsored by Bond Bryan, the college architects and an especially commissioned musical fanfare, composed by York College music tutor Nigel Bartam, played in the college atrium.

The official opening took place in the college’s new Alan Ayckbourn theatre featuring music and a musical theatre performance by York College students. After a welcome speech by college principal, Mike Galloway, Tanni Grey-Thompson gave a keynote speech and unveiled a commemorative plaque, made by the college’s stonemasonry department. John Short, Chair of Governors then give a vote of thanks.

Guests were given guided tours of the new £60 million building, taking in a range of curriculum activities on route.

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson comments : “I am honoured to be asked to officially open this wonderful new college, which accommodates state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities. The new building will have a very positive impact on both learners and staff alike, enhancing their college experience enormously. I hope all college users feel inspired to achieve their goals and succeed in such stimulating surroundings.”

Said Mike Galloway, Principal of York College: “We are delighted that Dame Tanni has been able to open our new college. She is such an inspirational speaker who embodies some of York College’s core values in terms of perseverance, determination and striving for excellence.

Liz Burdett, Director of Area for the LSC in North Yorkshire said: “It's great to see York College celebrating its official opening. The LSC has invested in the college to provide unique and top quality facilities that will offer fantastic opportunities for learners and the local community, and boost skills development to benefit local employers and businesses."

Back to top

spacer

German Engineering Exchange in York

A new type of exchange programme, set up by York College , through the British Council and Training Bridge, is taking place in York supporting vocational apprentices in the Electronic/Mechatronic field of Engineering.

Following on from the York College visit to Germany in May, when ten learners (aged 18 – 26 ) studying a wide range of Engineering courses including a Foundation Degree, National Certificate in Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Advanced Apprenticeships and NVQs visited engineering companies, ADVA, Thales and Paragon, in Thuringen, East Germany, it is now time for the return leg of the exchange, when the german learners visit three different engineering/manufacturing companies in York.

Twelve german learners, 9 young men and 3 young women, are to spend two weeks in the workplace visting Nestl é , Lambert Engineering and AMX UK , and one week in the new £60 million York College. The exchange programme allows these work-based learners to experience and compare the differences between UK and German training and industrial practices, giving them a real appreciation of European industry and culture. As a result of the exchange, the companies involved, both in Germany and the UK , are already seeing the benefits.

Says Lisa Rowntree, Engineering Coordinator at York Col lege : “This exchange has been a once in a life time experience for our work-based learners, both culturally and in terms of their own professional development. Having spent time out in Germany and seeing the way in which our learners and the German apprentices instantly integrated and supported each other was exceptional. Because of the exchange these young people have a real appreciation and understanding of a much wider range of technical processes, business structures, quality assurance, health & safety etc. all crucial to improving their contribution to the workplace and own progression, and it's essential that our engineers of the future see beyond the UK and benefits of working together with European partners.”

Says Richard Martin, York Factory Manager, Nestlé Rowntree: "We are delighted to welcome the apprentices to York and particularly to Nestlé. One of our top priorities is people development as well trained staff enable us to remain successful in the highly competitive manufacturing industry. Our initial aim was to help broaden the technical horizons of our apprentices by being exposed to different approaches to engineering. But the scheme has also enabled us to broaden our knowledge of different cultures and our experience of working from a European perspective. We look forward to hosting our visitors and, together with York College , we've developed an exciting programme to ensure they get the most out of their stay here in York ".

Carolin Strube, Electronics Apprentice ADVA Optical Networking says: “It's a pleasure to be in the UK , we've only been here 5 days but we've already had loads of new experiences. It's really interesting to see the technology in English companies and the culture of English people, and realise that rather than everything be different most things are actually very similar in many ways !”

Quintan Thornton, Engineering Apprentice, Nestle UK says: “Whilst in Germany in May, I was able to see and experience the German lifestyle and discover new manufacturing processes and techniques, and more importantly develop new friendships. Now its my pleasure to host the German apprentices here at Nestle, and be able to give them a UK experience of state of the art production technologies and facilities.”

Press Date: 08/10/07

Back to top

spacer

The new £60 million York College opens

The new £60 million York College, on Sim Balk Lane, opened its doors to learners on 12th September.  There was a celebratory atmosphere as hundreds of excited learners entered the landmark building for the first time, to see for themselves what an impressive educational facility it really is.

The new college, which has taken nearly two years to build, has state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities including a theatre, training restaurant, hair & beauty spa and nail bar, 3G sports pitch, travel agency, engineering and construction workshops, art & design studios and a learning centre on three floors equipped with the latest technology. 

Says Alex Smith, York College Student Union president: “The new college provides us with an unrivalled opportunity in our region. The huge amount of input that the college has considered from the students means that this brand new building is tailor- made and will match the needs of students closely for years to come. I can't emphasise enough how excited I am to be part of the first few who will get to utilise this wonderful new site.”

Says college principal, Mike Galloway: " After more than 6 years of planning, it is enormously gratifying to see this outstanding new building at last in place and being used by the students for whom it was intended. I am confident that it will enable us to do an even better job with the very diverse group of learners we serve, now and into the future and that it will play a key role in ensuring York's future economic competitiveness. The completion of this "new benchmark for the Further Education sector nationally" could not have been achieved without the immense contribution of staff and Governors at the College, as well as that of the architects, contractors and consultants. We are also grateful to the Learning and Skills Council for the £21+million contribution to the scheme."

Says Liz Burdett, director of area for the LSC in North Yorkshire: “I am delighted to see York College open the doors of its new building. This will be an excellent learning facility and an asset to York and North Yorkshire, and will raise the quality of learning opportunities in the region. The LSC is committed to investing in good quality buildings and facilities to attract learners and equip them with skills for employment and economic success. We believe that an attractive place to study and a positive and enjoyable learning experience makes a difference to the standard of education and training provided and the motivation of learners and staff.  This is an exciting time for York College and a great boost for the area – we look forward to seeing the College and its learners continue to prosper in a first class learning environment.”

Peter Dwyer, director of Leisure, Culture and Children’s Services at City of York Council, says: “The new college is an excellent addition to the city and we congratulate all who have been involved in its development. Its location as a key gateway to the city means that it is a prominent reminder of the fact that York is a place of high quality learning and opportunity. The college has worked closely with partners to ensure that the extended development responds to local need and in conjunction with other existing provision. As a result, we are confident that it will prove a success and delighted that young people will have such impressive facilities on their doorstep. We want to see more young people deciding to engage in post-16 learning, and facilities of this quality can only contribute to that aim.”

The new college provides a learning environment for all ages.  Some 13,000 learners are expected to attend the new college, which offers a wide range of academic and vocational courses at all levels and works alongside local educational providers and businesses. The new £60 million York College will provide opportunities for the local community, benefiting learners and employers alike and will provide a massive boost to both further and higher education in York and North Yorkshire.

Back to top

spacer

Lord Winston Opens Science area in new York College

Professor Lord Robert Winston found time to officially open the new York College Science area as part of his visit to York for the BA Festival.  He met with college staff and students and toured the whole Science area, which takes up the entire fourth floor of the £60 million building, before unveiling a plaque to commemorate his visit. 

During Lord Winston’s visit he was also introduced to 17 year old triplets; Helen, Lorraine and Graham Musgrove, who were born as a direct result of his pioneering work in IVF.The triplets are studying A levels and vocational qualifications at York College.

Says Glyn Jones, Curriculum Leader for Science at York College: “York College is a major provider of Science eduation in York and we have been blessed with these fantastic facilities.  We are keen on innovation in science teaching, particularly in making use of the opportunities offered by information technology.  Our new laboratories have had considerable input from the staff who will be teaching in them, and the resources in the new college will allow us to be even more creative in our teaching and learning.”

Says College Principal, Mike Galloway:  "We are delighted that Lord Winston was able to find the time to open the Science Area of the new college and we are privileged to have such a prominent scientist and populariser of science taking an interest in the work of the College. It is especially fitting that this should happen during the week of the BA Festival of Science when York's significant contribution to science and technology is being showcased nationally and internationally. The College looks forward to playing an even bigger part in ensuring that 'York' and 'high quality science' are synonymous in the future."

Back to top

spacer

York College Smoking Policy

From 1 July 2007 York College will be encouraging all learners and staff not to smoke on the current Tadcaster Road site. The new college, on Sim Balk Lane, is set to be totally smoke free, and will remain no smoking in the buildings, grounds or vehicles on the site.  

The Health Act 2006 states: ‘Smoking’ refers to smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance.

York College is committed to the reduction of smoking amongst staff and learners and the introduction of a no smoking culture.

Follow this link to view the York College Smoking Policy 2007

Back to top

spacer

York College send aid to Ghana

Due to the migration to the new college site, and after the great success of the last one sent in 2003, York College is set to send another container to Ghana. The Abura community showed great appreciation from the last container and as there will be many items that cannot be taken to the new build the opportunity could not be missed to send another, this time a 40ft one!

Back to top

spacer

 

Chinese New Year - ‘Hello Mum and Dad!’

Chinese New Year began on Sunday 18 February and 2007 is the year of the Boar. As part of the celebrations seven Chinese students who study A levels at York College have sent a video film home to their parents in Nimgbo, South East China. The video depicts their lives at college and includes Chinese New Year greetings.

In China, the students’ parents were invited to attend a Chinese New Year social evening organised by the Ningbo Hong Xiong Overseas Study Service Center, where the surprise video presentation was shown. By all reports they were touched and absolutely delighted to see their sons and daughters having such a wonderful time.

The students known as Michael, Monica, Adam, Bill, Don and Fiona (adopted english names) have completed an EFL course (english as a foreign language) and they are currently studying A levels. They all intend to progress on to UK universities.

Shuyan Dong (known as Monica), studies A levels in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Business, says; “My parents are generally interested in anything to do with life abroad and they wanted to send me to England to experience the western culture. Everything is so different here and this video is a way of showing them how I go about my daily life at York College and in this beautiful city. I am pleased that they have been able to see for themselves what a fantastic opportunity this has been for me.”

Back to top

spacer

Archive External News Stories

 

Win for Disability Rights Women

A British woman has won the initial stages of a landmark legal case at the European Court of Justice which could give new rights to millions of carers.
The Advocate-General agreed that Sharon Coleman suffered "discrimination by association".

The legal secretary claimed her former London employers Attridge Law described her as "lazy" for wanting time off to care for her disabled son.

A panel of European judges will make a final ruling later this year.

Voluntary redundancy

Ms Coleman says she was forced to leave her job in March 2005 because she was not allowed as much flexibility in her work as parents of other children.

If her case is upheld by the full court, the verdict would effectively give new rights to millions of carers.

Making the ruling this week Poiares Maduro, a senior European lawyer, said that in his opinion a European law establishing equal treatment at work was relevant to those "closely associated with a disabled person".

He said that directly targeting a person with a particular characteristic was not the only way of discriminating against him or her.

He said: "One way of undermining the dignity and autonomy of people... is to target not them, but third persons who are closely associated with them.

"A robust conception of equality entails that these subtler forms of discrimination should also be caught by anti-discrimination legislation."

Ms Coleman was already working with the law firm when she gave birth to a disabled son in 2002.

He suffers from serious respiratory problems, including apnoeic attacks - an involuntary halt to breathing.

Huge implications

As primary carer, Ms Coleman wanted flexible working arrangements, but accepted voluntary redundancy and began a claim for constructive dismissal five months later.

Ms Coleman said her manager had commented that her child was always sick, and had accused her of trying to use his condition to get out of work.

She said: "They knew about my son's problems because I took him into the office, but they wouldn't allow me to work flexibly to make it easier to look after him.

"Other members of staff were taking time off for hospital appointments or worked from home but my requests were always turned down."

True Equality

An employment tribunal hearing the case decided to refer it to the European Court for a ruling on whether EU discrimination laws covering the disabled can also apply to people not themselves disabled, but closely associated with a disabled person.

Imelda Redmond, chief executive of campaign group Carers UK, said the ruling represented a "positive step towards true equality for carers".

She said that of the 2.5m carers currently in the UK, one in five would give up work in order to carry out their role as carer.

Ms Redmond said: "Every employer will have to look at their recruitment and employment practices and make sure they are not discriminating against carers."

The group wants the government's new national carers strategy to recommend including carers in new equalities legislation, which will be introduced next year.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/london/7219097.stm

Published: 31st January 2008

Back to top

spacer

 

Dr Sentamu in dog collar protest against Mugabe

The Archbishop of York has made a dramatic live TV protest - by cutting up his dog collar.

Furious Dr John Sentamu reached for a pair of scissors and snipped through the white band in a symbolic gesture attacking the regime of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

He said Mugabe had "taken people's identity and cut it to pieces", which had prompted him to do the same to his clerical collar - and he does not intend to wear it again until the leader of Zimbabwe is deposed.

Dr Sentamu, a long-standing and vociferous critic of Mugabe, was being interviewed live on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning when he made his point in theatrical style.

Referring to his dog collar, he said: "As an Anglican, this is what I wear to identify myself, that I'm a clergyman.

"You know what Mugabe has done? He's taken people's identity and literally, if you don't mind, cut it to pieces, and in the end, there's nothing.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to wear a dog collar, until Mr Mugabe's gone."

The Archbishop was speaking after Prime Minister Gordon Brown boycotted a European Union-Africa summit in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, because Mugabe - whose policies have been blamed for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and countless deaths from starvation - was also attending.

Dr Sentamu also criticised other African leaders, who insisted Mugabe be allowed to attend the Lisbon summit, for not opposing him.

He said: "Because of what is going on for me, there is this pernicious, self-destructing racism.

"A white man does it, the whole world cries. A black person does it, there is a certain sense of this is colonialism'.

"I'm sorry, I don't buy this. Africa and all the world have got to liberate Africa from this mental slavery and this colonial mentality - whenever there's anything you blame somebody else instead of yourself."

He said: "Why aren't we, as a world community, uniting against Mugabe?"

South African President Thabo Mbeke was singled out for particular criticism by Dr Sentamu for failing to put pressure on Mr Mugabe who, according to the Archbishop, has turned his country from "a bread basket into a basket case".

"(Mugabe) has actually taken a country into a sheer chaos and he's been so brutal that, in the long run, the world has got to say, if the South African people (and their leaders) won't do it, something's got to happen," he said.

The Press yesterday attempted to contact Dr Sentamu - who has called for people to "pray, march and protest" about the situation in Zimbabwe and the war-ravaged region of Darfur, in Sudan - for further comment on his protest, but were told he was "not doing any more interviews today" following his BBC appearance.

Information taken from: The Press, article by Mark Stead, 10 December 2007.

Back to top

spacer

Islam Awareness Week

Mon 19th – Sun 25th November 2007
Theme: One World: Our Children, Our Future

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) is a national initiative aimed to help remove misconceptions, break down barriers and build links between communities, by encouraging people to work together for the common good and by enhancing understanding across differences to develop a greater sense of trust and respect for each other. It is felt that children have a tremendous role to play in building a brighter future for all of us, hence this year’s theme.

IAW have teamed up with Barnardo’s the national children’s charity (UK registered charity no. 216250 and Scottish registered charity no. sc037605), to organise the‘Open Eyes’ sponsorship competition for primary and secondary schools.

Furthermore Dawud Wharnsby the Canadian singer songwriter and his American colleague Idris Philips will under take a One World Tour as part of Islam awareness Week. They will visit eight cities in the UK with 45 performances taking the message of: One World: Our Children, Our Future to thousands of young people and their communities in the UK.

This year will also see the launch of the Islam Awareness Week web page for schools, where teachers and students can download basic information about Islam and Muslims. They can also order ready made schools’ presentations and resources for use in the classroom.

“In this increasingly interconnected world, all our futures are tied together. ‘One World’, is the global village we inhabit; the things that we have in common are more significant than the differences that exist between us. The future lies in the hands of our children, so if we really want the world to be a better place, then we should look to the ones who will be taking care of it and make sure we take care of them first.

“The experience of childhood shapes a person. It is a cherished time of learning and growth that should be valued and protected by communities. Children who experience positive childhoods are better enabled to fulfil their potentials. Undoubtedly secure, happy, loving, stimulating childhoods for all our children are the greatest investment we can all make for all our futures,” said Zahoor Qurashi, President of the Islamic Society of Britain.

The Islamic Society of Britain are launching this year’s Islam Awareness Week at the British Library (96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB) on Friday 16th November 2007 11.30am – 4pm.

Information from the Islamic Awareness Week website

Back to top

spacer

Mother who died after refusing transfusion

Jehovah’s Witnesses defended yesterday the decision of a young mother who died after refusing a potentially life-saving blood transfusion, having just given birth to twins.

To agree to a transfusion would have been a transgression comparable to adultery or sexual immorality, a spokesman from the central office of the British community of Jehovah’s Witnesses told The Times yesterday.

His stout defence of the religion’s position on transfusions came as family, friends and work colleagues of Emma Gough, 22, gathered at her funeral in Telford, Shropshire.

Mrs Gough, who died on October 25 at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, had signed a form stating that she did not wish to receive a blood transfusion. When complications followed the birth of her son and daughter, and she suffered severe blood loss, her family refused to allow doctors to override her wishes.

An inquest was opened on October 30 and a spokesman for the coroner’s office gave the cause of death as complications of profound anaemia, haemorrhage and complications of a twin delivery.

The twins, whom she held before she died, are in the care of her husband, Anthony, 24, a central heating engineer from Telford. “We’re coping as best we can,” he told the Shropshire Star. “With everything that’s happened, it’s very difficult for everyone.”

Terry Lovejoy, a member of the Jehovah’s Witness community in Telford, said: “We are trying to help them through an intense period of grief and mourning.”

At the central office for Jehovah’s Witnesses in London, Paul Gillies, its spokesman, said: “If someone did [have a blood transfusion] they would be saying they don’t really believe in one of the central tenets of the faith.

“The biblical instruction is coupled with adultery and sexual immorality,” he said, referring to verses in Acts xv. “It says to abstain from adultery, to abstain from blood, to abstain from immorality,” he said. “Jehovah’s Witnesses might be forgiven for accepting one if they were genuine in their repentance, in the same way as if someone says, ‘I have committed adultery, I’m very sorry’.” Though such injunctions date from an age before blood transfusions, and refer to the consumption of blood, Mr Gillies said: “If someone said, ‘Don’t drink alcohol’ and I injected it into my arms instead, that would just be a way round the law’.”

He added that, although he did not know the details of Mrs Gough’s case, “it is not an exact science that if you take blood you are going to live”.

Christine Harris, a friend of the family, said: “The family have told me that a blood transfusion wouldn’t have saved Emma.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses “hospital liaison committees” work with British hospitals. Mr Lovejoy serves as a liaison officer with the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, helping to ensure that doctors are aware of alternative treatments. In 2000 this network disseminated a report, Care Plan for Women in Labour Refusing a Blood Transfusion.

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association said that the death of Mrs Gough was a “cut and dried case”.

“I am sure the doctors will have done all they can to try to persuade this woman to have a blood transfusion but they could never force her to,” she said. “To do so would be against the Human Rights Act.”

What’s your view? Do you agree with ?
Email us your comments to: equalityanddiversity@yorkcollege.ac.uk

Information taken from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk, article by Will Pavia, 6 November 2007.

Back to top

spacer

 

En garde, you sexless, workshy, unwashed Frenchies

En garde, you sexless, workshy, unwashed Frenchies
A Frenchwoman’s anti-English diatribe in last week’s News Review has stirred a patriotic riposteBy Jessica Jonzen

From The Sunday Times November 11, 2007

Anglo-French warfare, waged over centuries on battlefield and rugby pitch, is alive and well if the response to Hortense de Monplaisir’s diatribe against the English in last week’s News Review is anything to go by.

In our extract of Le Dossier: How to Survive the English, “translated” by Hortense’s alter ego, Sarah Long, she declared that after 10 years in Fulham, she understood the English “better than they do themselves”. She described the English as living like “troglodytes” in converted cellars, our women as “the great sluts of Europe, with no feeling for housework” and our men as being “no good at sex”. This, many of our readers took with humility, but when she went on to deride our national treasure, Dame Judi Dench, many felt she had overstepped the mark.

So incensed were some of our readers by de Monplaisir’s audacious attack on her host nation that we felt it only right, proper (and English) to allow a riposte. The responses seemed to fall into distinct groups: those who wholeheartedly agreed with de Monplaisir; those who were appalled at her lack of judgment and manners; and those who took time to ruminate on the politics, culture, hygiene and personal appearance of the French. Interestingly, most of the responses in support of de Monplaisir were written by English expatriates.

On appearance, many objected to the notion that all Frenchwomen are small-bottomed and immaculately coiffured. Grahame from Broomfield, in Kent, wrote that he had “always found Frenchwomen butch and unattractive in general, and with questionable hygiene, plus look at who the face of Chanel is” – the delectable (and English) Keira Knightley.

One of our readers used his own girlfriend to contradict Hortense: “My French girlfriend can’t cook and only brushes her teeth every few days. She also dresses like a clown. But I do love her.” (K, Bristol) An Englishwoman living in France took exception to her compatriots being labelled as the “great sluts of Europe”.

“How about the French housewives who, having never heard of epilation, cycle happily home from the boulanger with the baguette stuck under their sweaty armpits?” she railed. “Or the French habit of flushing the loo once a day to save water? Better still, the men that you can see peeing on any roadside all over France. Women who turn up at the beauty salon and have what looks like camembert between their toes thinking that it wasn’t worth washing before going to the salon as it’d get done there!”

“Well, we may all have huge bottoms,” wrote Cat Walker from Birmingham, “but at least we use proper toilets here in England, unlike the French, who insist on going by the side of the road. Leave Paris and not 10 miles out of the city you start to see country lanes strewn with toilet paper. Disgusting.”

De Monplaisir poured scorn on Englishwomen for “ingratiating themselves with the maid, rushing around to clean up before they come, then apologising for the state of the house”. This, she said, made cleaners spoilt and made it harder for Frenchwomen to demand the level of service they needed. To which Laurence from Bristol retorted: “I’m actually a complete bastard to my servants . . . or at least I would be if I had any.”

S Ward, from Brighton, wrote that in his romantic encounters with Frenchwomen: “I personally found their lovemaking cold and unimaginative in comparison to American or Italian women, and their cooking at home: sacré bleeeugh.”

Captain Haddock from Hampshire, a self-confessed Francophile, took a more balanced view: “French food – I’ve had some wonderful meals there. I’ve had some of the worst also. Beautiful women – yes, there are many but I’ve seen some of the ugliest and worst-dressed women in the world teetering between the piles of dog poo on the boulevards.”

“Frenchwomen and dress sense?” asked Anne in France. “Ha ha ha! Round here the look is off-duty prostitute.”

The Americans were keen to lend us a hand (conforming to stereotype as well, it would seem) in fending off Madame’s attacks. Jedsil from New York wrote: “The French are like the caricature of the classic indolent brother-in-law. He doesn’t work, produces nothing of consequence, but has a taste for the finest things in life: yours. I adore the UK, but America has one great advantage over your country. We are further away from France.”

The relaxed French lifestyle so championed by de Monplaisir, was roundly set upon by Phil Barlow from the Wirral who pointed out: “The suicide rate in France is 2½ times higher than the UK (source WHO International).”

Frank D from Boston, in the US, said: “The funniest part was utilising ‘French’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘excellent service’ in the same vapid thought bubble . . . Even the new French president admits what a train wreck France has become.” In her CV, it was pointed out that Hortense had “exceptional IQ” and was a member of French Mensa. Ally from Keswick retorted: “The French branch of Mensa clearly has lower entry requirements than the one in Britain.”

John from Oxford took exception to the admission from a person of “exceptional IQ” that a picture of Ségolène Royal, resplendent in a bikini at the age of 52 during the presidential campaign, filled her with national pride. “I am surprised that . . . Royal is able to instil pride through her physique despite the naivety and stupidity of the failed candidate’s shambolic campaign.”

Deriding the English culture was similarly ill-received. “Hortense does not understand the English if she believes she can slight Dame Judi Dench with impunity,” wrote Jill from Devon. Steve Hillage from London also took the writer to task. “And our singers like Johnny Halliday are so brilliant,” he wrote, “whereas your singers like ze Beatles are so – how you say – crappy.”

Robert Shepherd writing from Paris suggested, “The French too have an inferiority complex; not understanding why a small, damp island only 40% as big as France can have a bigger, more dynamic economy, create the global language, beat Paris to the Olympics and eliminate ‘les bleus’ at rugby.” Humphry Clarke from London agreed: “This column is a timely reminder why we spent the majority of the 18th century and a substantial portion of the 19th pounding les bleus into submission with cannon and shot. They evidently failed to learn their lesson.”

For all the hundreds who rallied together in a fit of national pride, there were some who agreed with Hortense. Russell from Bulgaria wrote: “I’m English (expat) and she’s 100% right! Haven’t laughed so much for ages! The book's on my Christmas list!”

Possibly the most succinct response came from Mark in London: “This acidic, tiresome, desperately unamusing diatribe sparked something within me that has lain dormant for some time – patriotism. So for that, thank you Madame de Monplaisir.”

What’s your view?
Email us your comments to: equalityanddiversity@yorkcollege.ac.uk

Original Article from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk, by Jessica Jonzen, 11 November 2007.

Back to top

spacer

Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace began as a Christian led event and is now a mulitfaith event recognised by many of the worlds religions.

The first Christian Week of Prayer for World Peace was in 1974 and soon after it became a multifaith event recognised by many of the world religions..

The International Prayer for Peace
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.

Back to top


 
York College | Sim Balk Lane | YORK YO23 2BB | Main Number 01904 770200 | Course Enquiries 01904 770400 | Fax 01904 770499 | Text telephone 01904 770303