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Advancing equality and diversity in universities and colleges

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Inclusive students’ unions: equality and diversity in practice

How equality legislation requirements apply to students' unions

Although higher education institutions have been required to work transparently to meet various legislative demands, there has been a lack of clarity about how the equality legislation requirements relate to students’ unions.

While the students’ union movement may be renowned for challenging practice within institutions, it has become increasingly important for individual unions to be able to demonstrate that their own policies and practices can withstand scrutiny.

This publication offers information and guidance, exploring what is meant by inclusive practice in students’ unions and providing examples and case studies of practice adopted by some unions.

Areas covered include:

  • The legislative context
  • Equality initiatives in the students’ union sector
  • Inclusive communication strategies
  • Democracy and representation
  • Membership and commercial services
  • Students’ union staff

This guidance has been produced in conjunction with the Association for Managers in Students’ Unions and the National Union of Students, following previous research into equality and diversity issues in students’ unions undertaken by ECU.