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About the OU > Admin and governance > Policies and Statements > Statement on Equality and Diversity

Statement on Equality and Diversity

Our statement of commitment to equality and diversity

The Open University is open to people, places, methods and ideas.
We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Our mission expresses our founding aspiration to provide opportunities to all. As such, equality and diversity have been part of the core values of the Open University since its inception.

Our continued dedication to social justice and equality of opportunity is embodied in a set of commitments and principles. Through these commitments, we will strengthen our position as a university of choice.

Our commitments

  • We are committed to 'making it happen!'. We will focus less on documenting the actions we take and more on measuring the outcomes we achieve.
  • We are committed to providing an inclusive culture in which all individuals are encouraged to participate fully and are treated on the basis of their abilities.
  • We will treat individuals with dignity and respect and provide an environment that is free from prejudice, bullying, harassment and unlawful discrimination. We will take action to challenge inappropriate behaviour and discriminatory practice.
  • We recognise that different people and groups have different needs and that people have multiple-identities and multiple-needs. We will make reasonable adjustments and proportional changes to our processes and procedures in order to meet the needs and circumstances of our students, customers, staff and partners.
  • We will ensure that legislative requirements or other demands do not create a hierarchy between different aspects of equality and diversity in our community.
  • We will provide our staff and associates with the knowledge and skills they need to understand and meet their equality and diversity responsibilities.


The following principles guide our equality and diversity work:

  • We value diversity highly. We recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, opinions, histories, knowledge and culture and that this difference brings great strength.
  • We do not discriminate based on a person's age; disability; family circumstance; gender; political opinion; race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; socio-economic background, trade union membership or other distinctions. Such forms of discrimination represent a waste of human resources and a denial of opportunity for individual self-fulfilment.
  • We recognise that patterns of inequality in society are also reflected at the University and that under-representation and differences in outcomes for our students and staff need to be challenged through programmes of legitimate positive action.
  • We understand that actual or perceived differences in beliefs or values can arise between different groups in society. We respect the rights of individuals and groups to hold their own views and values, but will not allow these to be manifested in a way that intimidates or humiliates, or is hostile or degrading to others.
  • A successful equality and diversity strategy requires the active support of the entire university community; staff, students, customers, partners and contractors. Commitment, involvement and good practice is therefore encouraged and expected from the entire community in the implementation of this strategy.

To obtain a copy of our equality and diversity strategy, race equality policy, disability equality scheme, gender equality scheme, Northern Ireland equality scheme, or to find out more about our equality and diversity work, visit the Equality and Diversity Website