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Anti-Racism Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The purpose of this policy is to raise awareness of and compliance with Charles Sturt University's commitment to providing a work and study environment that is culturally inclusive and free from racial discrimination and harassment. Racism is best understood when acknowledging the context of power, oppression and privilege.


(2) This policy applies to all persons associated with Charles Sturt University (the University), including current and prospective staff and students, visitors and community stakeholders.

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Section 2 - Policy


(3) The University is committed to providing and supporting a work and study environment that:

  1. recognises and acknowledges First Nations Australian people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Land
  2. is inclusive of staff and students from different races, which include not only their background but also family, culture, history and beliefs
  3. recognises and embraces the value and benefits of cultural diversity
  4. promotes respect and fair and equitable treatment for all staff, students and others associated with the University
  5. actively attempts to combat racist policies, practices, culture and ideas, and to promote racial equity
  6. is free from unlawful discrimination.

(4) The University will promote equal opportunity, anti-discrimination, anti-racism, cultural awareness, cross-cultural competence, and appropriate conduct for staff and students through its policies and strategies, information resources, recruitment processes, induction/orientation activities, training programs and support services.

(5) The University will ensure that course design, curriculum content, teaching methodologies and student experience are culturally safe, respectful and inclusive of diverse perspectives, including First Nations knowledges and experiences.

(6) The University will encourage research and community service activities that raise awareness of and promote cultural diversity and inclusiveness.

(7) The University will not tolerate direct or indirect racial discrimination, harassment and/or vilification under any circumstances.

(8) University strategies, policy texts and programs that support these principles include:

  1. University Strategy
  2. Equal Opportunity Policy
  3. Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Procedure
  4. Indigenous Australian Content in Courses and Subjects Policy
  5. Student Charter
  6. Code of Conduct
  7. Admissions Policy
  8. Indigenous Australian Employment Strategy
  9. Professional Development Procedure - First Nations Employee Schemes
  10. Student Misconduct Rule 2020
  11. Complaints Management Policy
  12. Communicating Without Bias Guidelines


(9) University leaders will raise awareness and cross-cultural competence through anti-racism policies and programs, investigate complaints, and take appropriate action to ensure that the work and study environments are free from racial discrimination and harassment.

(10) Managers and academic staff are accountable for:

  1. ensuring that their work and/or study environments are culturally inclusive and free from racial discrimination and harassment
  2. supporting and encouraging staff and students to develop cross-cultural competence through appropriate development opportunities and resources
  3. monitoring and ensuring that appropriate conduct and practices are modelled and observed at all times in their work and/or study environments
  4. taking appropriate action if they observe or receive a report of racial discrimination, harassment or vilification
  5. investigating allegations of racial discrimination, harassment or vilification, and making recommendations to resolve the matter.

(11) All members of the University community have a responsibility to uphold and act in accordance with principles promoting anti-racism, cultural diversity and inclusiveness, including identifying and bringing attention to instances of racism.

  1. Staff have responsibilities for their personal and professional conduct as stated by the Code of Conduct.  
  2. Students have responsibilities to meet university expectations for their conduct as stated in the Student Charter.

(12) It is important that all members of the University community comply with this policy. Under state and Commonwealth legislation, the University can be held vicariously liable for acts of racial discrimination or harassment inflicted on others by staff and, in some instances, by students. Staff and students may also be personally liable for their conduct.

Reporting and complaints

(13) Staff and students who experience racial discrimination, harassment or vilification are encouraged to report it and seek assistance, in accordance with the Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Procedure and Complaints Management Policy.

(14) Managers and academic staff handling equity-related complaints are strongly advised to consult the Manager, Equity Diversity and Inclusion in the Division of People and Culture for advice and assistance on legislation and policy requirements.

(15) Students with equity-related concerns are advised to consult the Student Advocates in the Division of Safety, Security and Wellbeing for advice and assistance on legislation and University policy.

(16) If staff or students experience racial discrimination, racial vilificaiton or offensive behaviour based on racial hatred or harassment while on work or study placements in other organisations, the University will assist them to assert their rights as required. To this end, the University will work jointly with the other organisation to investigate the complaint and develop strategies to prevent it from recurring.

(17) The University will not tolerate victimisation of any of the parties involved in a complaint. The Complaints Management Policy sets out what a person should do if they are victimised or subject to detrimental action in reprisal for reporting or making a complaint. 

Breaches of this policy

(18) Breaches of this policy will be investigated in accordance with the University's Complaints Management Policy.

(19) Bullying, discrimination, harassment, victimisation or vilification may be determined to constitute misconduct or serious misconduct and lead to disciplinary action and penalties under the Enterprise Agreement, employment contracts or Student Misconduct Rule 2020.

(20) If a complaint involves evidence of criminal conduct, the University may refer the matter to the police or an appropriate agency.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(21) Nil.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(22) Nil.

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Section 5 - Glossary

(23) For the purposes of this policy:

  1. Anti-racism – refers to “actively attempting to combat racist policies, practices, culture and ideas. Anti-racism is about more than being ‘not racist’. It involves active decisions that seek to combat injustice and promote racial equity.” (Australian Human Rights Commission).
  2. Cultural inclusiveness or inclusive culture - refers to an environment that is responsive to the needs of all users, acknowledges and respects diversity, and does not discriminate or treat people unfairly because of individual differences. (Response Ability 2010, Diversity and inclusive practice ).
  3. Offensive behaviour based on racial hatred - is used in Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation to refer to public acts that are reasonably likely, in all circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people because of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin. These acts include communicating words, sounds, images or writing to the public, in a public place, or in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place. (Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) Part IIA).
  4. Race – refers to “the idea that humans can be organised into distinct biological ‘races’ with defined physical and social traits. Today, it is widely accepted that biological categories of race do not exist. However,... ideas of race (and ideas that are racist) were foundational to the development of many of today’s laws, cultures and societies, with certain racial identities perceived and positioned as superior to others.” (Australian Human Rights Commission). Race can be defined as not only background but also family, culture, history, beliefs, a sense of place and belonging with others who share those same or similar things.
  5. Racism - refers to “the process by which systems and policies, actions and attitudes create inequitable opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. Racism is more than just prejudice in thought or action. It occurs when this prejudice – whether individual or institutional – is accompanied by the power to discriminate against, oppress or limit the rights of others." (Australian Human Rights Commission).

(24) See also the definitions and examples set out in the Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Procedure.