Equality and diversity highlights from last week: new web resource to help universities tackle extremism and radicalisation, students silent over mental health at universities, judicial review of work capability assessment deems the procedure unfair to those with mental health problems, and a blog post on women and age.
Universities UK has launched a new website to help universities tackle extremism and radicalisation on campus. The website http://www.safecampuscommunities.ac.uk/ provides information on how to address issues such as protocols for vetting external speakers, engaging with the community and police and promoting inter-faith relations on campus. It follows a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homeland Security, published in April 2011, which said campus extremism was a “serious problem”.
According to a study by the National Union of Students (NUS), 1 in 5 students experience mental health problems while at university but only 1 in 10 students use counselling services provided by their university. Hannah Paterson, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer, says the “primary concern” is that very few of the students experiencing distress speak about their problem. This may be due to the stigma attached to mental illnesses and Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, suggests that universities should do more to reach out to students.
A judicial review of the work capability assessment (WCA), launched by two individuals with mental health problems, has ruled that the current procedure used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to decide eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) disadvantages people with mental health problems. It was decided that the procedure is unfair because it requires everybody to understand and be able to explain the nature of their condition to the people conducting the assessment, even though people with mental health problems may have insufficient awareness of their difficulties to do so.
Finally, we came across an interesting blog post on women and age – ‘You never ask a lady her age‘. The blogger writes that as a child she was asked her age all the time, which left her wondering “how old you had to be when it started to be rude”. The discussion below the post is quite interesting too, raising questions about ageism and sexism, with commenters suggesting that the idea that you shouldn’t ask a woman how old she is seems to be attached to the perception that women ‘age out’ of their potential.
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