Equity and Diversity Policy Statement

The University of New South Wales is committed to the goals of equal opportunity and affirmative action in education and employment. It aims to provide a study and work environment for staff and students that fosters fairness, equity, and respect for social and cultural diversity, and that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment and vilification as determined by legislation and by University Council (See Explanatory Note 1, below).

In fulfilling this commitment, the University will:

  • foster a University culture which values and responds to the rich diversity of its staff and students (See Explanatory Note 2, below);

  • provide equal opportunity by removing barriers to participation and progression in employment and education so that all staff and students have the opportunity to fully contribute to University life (See Explanatory Note 3, below);

  • offer programs which aim to overcome past disadvantage for members of staff and student equity groups (See Explanatory Note 3, below);

  • promote clear and accountable educational and management policies and practices to engender trust between managers, staff and students;

  • enhance the quality of students' learning through the provision of culturally, socially and gender inclusive education in areas such as curricula, teaching methods, assessment and review provisions, written and audiovisual material and support services;

  • ensure that its staff and students are aware of their rights and their responsibilities as University members.

To achieve these goals, the University depends on the continued co-operation of all members of the University community.
The Vice-Chancellor as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Affirmative Action is responsible for compliance with all relevant legislation. He is assisted by the Executive and the Director, Equity and Diversity.

See also:

Explanatory Notes

1. Currently the grounds of unlawful discrimination and harassment are:

  • age;

  • compulsory retirement from employment;

  • disability (physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological or learning disability, physical disfigurement, the presence in the body of an organism capable of causing disease, and current, past, future or imputed disability).

  • homosexuality (male or female, actual or presumed);

  • marital status (single; or, with reference to a person of the opposite sex, married, separated, divorced, widowed or in a de facto relationship);

  • political affiliation, views or beliefs;

  • pregnancy or potential pregnancy;

  • race (including colour; descent; ethnic, ethno-religious or national origin, nationality; and immigration);

  • religious affiliation, views or beliefs;

  • responsibilities as a carer;

  • sex;

  • sexual harassment;

  • transgender or transsexuality (anyone who lives, has lived, or wants to live as a member of the opposite gender to their birth gender including people who are assumed to be transgender);

  • actual or imputed characteristics of any of the attributes listed above; and

  • association with a person identified by reference to any of the attributes listed above.

It is also unlawful to terminate employment on any of the grounds listed above, and also on the grounds of temporary absence from work because of injury or illness, membership or non-membership of a union, participation in union activities, and absence from work during maternity or other parental leave.

The grounds of unlawful vilification are:


  • homosexuality;

  • race; and

  • transgender (transsexuality).

The University is complying with the following statutory requirements with regard to unlawful discrimination and vilification: the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, and the University of New South Wales Act; and the Federal Disability Discrimination Act, Racial Discrimination Act, Sex Discrimination Act, and Workplace Relations Act.

NOTE (i): UNSW Canberra at ADFA in the ACT is subject also to the ACT Discrimination Act. Staff working at, or visiting, UNSW Canberra need to be aware of the following grounds of unlawful discrimination in addition to those listed above:

  • bisexuality;

  • breastfeeding;

  • membership or non-membership of an association or organisation of employers or employees;

  • profession, trade, occupation or calling; and

  • association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person identified by reference to one of the above attributes.

NOTE (ii): Under the Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act there are a number of further grounds of discrimination in the area of employment or occupation:

  • criminal record;

  • medical record;

  • national extraction or social origin; and

  • trade union activity.

However, discrimination on these grounds is not made unlawful by the Act, and the grounds do not apply where the discrimination is necessary because of the inherent requirements of a particular job. The only avenue of redress for a complaint under this Act is conciliation.

2. In compliance with the NSW Charter of Principles for a Culturally Diverse Society endorsed in 1993 and reaffirmed in 1995 by the NSW Government.

3. For staff, in compliance with Part IXA of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and the Federal Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999. The equity groups currently identified are: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; people with disabilities; people of non-English speaking background; and women.

For students, in compliance with Federal Government policy as outlined in A Fair Chance for All, AGPS, 1990 and subsequent amendments as outlined by DEST. The identified equity groups are: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; people with disabilities, from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, from rural and isolated areas, from non-English speaking backgrounds; and women in non-traditional areas of study.


Other Equity and Diversity Policies and Procedures

In addition to the Equity and Diversity Policy, the University has a number of other policies to help make it a safe, equitable and fair environment for all students and staff. These policies include:

  • The Equal Opportunity in Education Policy;

  • The Anti-Racism Policy;

  • The HIV and other Blood Borne Infections Policy;

  • Policies and Guidelines: Students with Disability;

  • Code of Practice: Students with Disabilities;

  • Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures for Students.

These can be found on the Policy@UNSW website.


The Student Equity and Disabilities Unit

The Student Equity and Disabilities Unit provides services to students, including:

  • disability services;

  • support for ACCESS students;

  • assistance with grievance handling under UNSW's discrimination and harassment grievance procedures;

  • guest lecture and presentations to students; and

  • advice and information on anti-discrimination legislation, policies and practice.

Students are welcome to contact the Unit at any time to talk confidentially about any issues relating to equity and disabilities. The Student Equity and Disabilities Unit is located on the Kensington campus:
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building (F20)
telephone +61 2 9385 4734, email: seadu@unsw.edu.au
website: www.studentequity.unsw.edu.au


Services for Equity Group and Educationally Disadvantaged Students

UNSW provides services to assist the successful completion of students frim equity groups through such means as:

  • The Aboriginal Education Program;

  • Disability Services Program (via the Equity and Diversity Unit);

  • The Student Equity and Disabilities Unit (SEADU);

  • The Learning Centre;

  • The Counselling Service.


Program Content, Curriculum Design, Teaching and Assessment, and Printed Material

Schools and faculties will monitor program and course content (including titles), teaching methods, assessment procedures, written material (including study guides, Handbook and Calendar entries) and audiovisual material to ensure that they are not discriminatory or offensive and that they encourage and facilitate full participation in education by disadvantaged people.


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