University of Valencia – Valencia, Spain

The Equality Unit of the University of Valencia was created by agreement of the University’s Governing Council in 2007. It was initiated by the University Rector with the aim to foster policies in equal access, inclusion and diversity. These were principles already contained in the University’s Constitution. The Equality Unit supports students and staff with a refugee or migrant background, LGBTQ+ students and staff, racial and ethnic minorities as well as religious minorities. It is also committed to ensuring equal treatment and opportunities between women and men. These groups were identified through a multitude of sources: national plan, university’s internal policies, relevant academic and policy research as well as student proposals. The University has access targets for equity groups.

The Equality Unit provides:

  1.  Support and counselling both for students and university staff, 
  2. Lectures, workshops, seminars for students, faculty and non-teaching staff, 
  3. Training courses for peer educators, 
  4. Public promotion (for example, production of media content such as podcasts).  

 

Public promotion has been particularly singled out as having the greatest impact because of its wide reach. 

The Unit also contributes to strategies and action plans aimed at countering exclusionary and discriminatory practices at the University. 

The University has recently published a Guide to diversity in physical activity and sports which was a collaborative effort of a research group of academic staff at the University. It also has a Protocol for action and response to harassment based on sex and other discriminatory harassment and an Observatory of Equality whose objectives are, for example, to publish data on gender equality and develop equality signs.

The Unit was established in order to apply principles contained in the University’s constitution which reflects the concern of institutional leadership to nurture equality and diversity. The success of the programme rests on its variety of activities organized throughout the year including education programmes for staff and students, sensitization actions and campaigns, provision of advice and collaboration with institutions and associations.
The Unit is not governed by national policy.
The Unit is headed by the Vice-Principal for Equality, Diversity and Inclusive Policies. There is also a Coordinating Teacher, Gender Office Director and administration specialist. Diversity, inclusion, and equality are explicitly mentioned in the Unit’s and the University’s strategies, policies and work plans. The great part of decisions regarding programme design and other activities is taken internally among members of the Unit. The Unit is not part of any official network.
Challenges that had to be overcome in order for the Unit to be established included a lack of economic and human resources. At the moment the funding of the Unit is neither particularly stable nor unstable. The Unit is funded by the regional government of Valencia.
An evaluation system is currently being developed as part of the Equality Unit’s strategic planning.

Equality Unit

Valencia, Spain