University Acts

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HEBDOMADAL COUNCIL

1 Decree

Council has made the following decree, to come into effect on 20 June.

Decree (1): Equal Opportunities Policy and Code of Practice

Explanatory note

The employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 came into force on 2 December 1996. Under those provisions, it is illegal to discriminate `unjustifiably' against disabled people in employment. There is also a requirement in the Act that employers make `reasonable adjustments' by removing physical barriers and modifying their practices to enable a disabled person who is suitably qualified and experienced for a particular post to be employed. The University's current Equal Opportunity Policy Statement (Statutes, 1995, p. 506) does not contain an express commitment not to treat an applicant or member of staff less favourably because of his or her disability. The first sentence of the current policy statement makes clear that candidates will be selected on the basis of their ability to do the job; and the first phrase of the second sentence mentions the constraints of statutory provisions. Given these provisos, and the provisions of the new legislation, Council, on the recommendation of the committees most concerned (the Appointments Committee of the General Board, the Staff Committee, the Equal Opportunities Committee, and the Committee for Disabled People) and with the concurrence of the General Board, has made the following decree, which amends the existing policy statement and code of practice in order to indicate the University's commitment to equality of opportunity for people with disabilities. The decree has been drafted so as to set out the complete policy statement and code of practice in their revised form, for ease of reference. The inserted passages are indicated by the use of italics. (Roman type will be used throughout when in due course the document is republished in the next edition of Statutes.)

Text of Decree (1)

In Ch. VII (Statutes, 1995, p. 505), delete APPENDIX A and substitute:

`APPENDIX A TO CHAPTER VII

Equal Opportunity Policy and Code of Practice

I. INTRODUCTION

Statutory obligations
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976 proscribe discrimination in, among others, the spheres of employment and education, on grounds of sex and marriage (in the case of the former Act) and on racial grounds (in the case of the latter Act). [Racial grounds are the grounds of colour, race, nationality—including citizenship—or ethnic or national origins, and groups defined by reference to these grounds are referred to as racial groups.] According to the Acts, there is direct discrimination where an individual, on the grounds of his or her sex or racial group, is treated less favourably than a member of the other sex or someone of a different racial group would be treated; there is indirect discrimination where a requirement or condition is applied (i) which is such that a considerably smaller proportion of persons of one sex or of the same racial group can comply with it than the proportion of persons of the other sex or not of that racial group who can comply; and (ii) which cannot be shown to be justifiable irrespective of the sex, colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origins of the person to whom it is applied; and (iii) which is to the detriment of the person concerned because he or she cannot comply with it. An example of indirect discrimination on grounds of sex might be a rule that applicants must be under a specified age (see below). An example of such discrimination on racial grounds might be a rule that candidates must have a British or European degree.

It is also unlawful for an individual to be victimised for having brought proceedings under the Acts, or for giving evidence or information relating to such proceedings, or for alleging that discrimination has occurred.

The Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, set up by the Acts to work towards the elimination of discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity, have both produced codes of practice on equal opportunities in employment which have been endorsed by Parliament. The codes do not have the force of law, but they can be brought in evidence in industrial tribunals. The University's code of practice, which is set out at III below, is consistent with these codes.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) introduced measures to prevent discrimination against disabled people in employment, in the provision of goods and services, and in buying and renting land and property. The DDA also requires higher education institutions regularly to publish information about education provisions for people with disabilities at their institutions. The DDA defines a disabled person as a person with `a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'. A National Disability Council (NDC) was created under the DDA. Unlike the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, the NDC has an advisory role only and has no powers to enforce the legislation. Guidelines on the implementation of the DDA have been issued by the Government, and the code of practice below is consistent with these guidelines.

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II. POLICY STATEMENT
The policy and practice of the University of Oxford require that entry into employment with the University and progression within employment will be determined only by personal merit and the application of criteria which are related to the duties of each particular post and the relevant salary structure. Subject to statutory provisions, no applicant or member of staff will be treated less favourably than another because of his or her sex, marital status, racial group, or disability. In all cases, ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration.

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III. CODE OF PRACTICE
The University seeks to ensure that all candidates for employment are treated fairly, and that selection is based solely on the individual merits of candidates and on selection criteria relevant to the post. In pursuance of this aim and of its statutory duties, the University of Oxford, as an employer committed to the principle of equality of opportunity, will adhere to the following procedure in the conduct of the recruitment and selection process for all posts.

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1. Selection criteria
Selection criteria for all posts will be clearly defined and reflected in the further particulars sent to candidates, which will also include details of the University's commitment to equality of opportunity. Job qualifications or requirements which would have the effect of inhibiting applications from members of one sex, from persons of a particular marital status, from persons of a particular racial group, or from those with a disability will not be demanded or imposed except where they are justifiable in terms of the job to be done. (For the purposes of this code, `racial group' means a group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origins.) An age limit which is convenient as opposed to genuinely necessary could constitute unlawful indirect discrimination against some classes of candidate (such as women who have taken time out of employment for child-rearing). Accordingly age limits will not be imposed unless they can be shown to be necessary for the job to be done.

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2. Advertising
Job advertisements will state the University's commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity, and will be widely publicised so as to encourage applications from a broad range of suitable candidates from all backgrounds. All job advertisements placed on behalf of the University will include a footnote or final note indicating the University's commitment to equality of opportunity. In addition, where further particulars are prepared they should quote in full the University's Equal Opportunities Policy Statement and make reference to the University's maternity leave provisions and the availability of the university nursery. Further particulars should also be made available in large print, tape, or other formats when they are requested by disabled applicants.

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3. Selection methods
All those handling applications and conducting interviews must be aware of the principles of the Sex Discrimination Act, the Race Relations Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, and other relevant legislation. The University will ensure that training and advice are available in furtherance of this requirement. All candidates will be compared objectively with the selection criteria, and all applications will be processed in the same way. Information sought from candidates and passed to those responsible for appointments will relate only to the qualifications for or requirements of the job. It is recognised that the University has a statutory obligation to make such adjustments to the workplace and to working arrangements as are reasonable to accommodate suitably qualified disabled applicants.

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4. Interviews
Wherever suitably qualified persons are available, there will be at least one member of each sex on the bodies responsible for shortlisting, interviewing, and making or recommending an appointment. Interview questions will relate to the selection criteria. No questions will be based on assumptions about roles in the home and the family, or the assumed suitability of different ethnic groups for the post in question. In particular, questions about marital status, children, domestic obligations, marriage plans, or family intentions will not be asked at interview. Questions about a candidate's ability to `fit in' with colleagues may also be construed as unlawful discrimination. Where it is necessary to obtain information on personal circumstances (for example, in relation to a selection criterion such as flexibility to work irregular hours) or on whether a candidate will be able to work well with colleagues, questions about this will be asked equally of all candidates and, like other questions, will relate only to the job requirements. In the case of disabled applicants who identify themselves at the application stage, appropriate interview arrangements (such as accessible interview rooms or the assistance of a sign interpreter) should be offered to enable candidates to compete on an equal basis.

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5. Record-keeping
Details of candidates and of selection decisions will be kept for at least six months after an appointment has been made, in case they are required as evidence by an industrial tribunal or for other proceedings. The University will keep records of the sex of all candidates and of those shortlisted and appointed. The composition of selection panels will also be monitored. In addition, the University will investigate the practicalities of extending its system of monitoring recruitment (for example, covering such categories as marital status, ethnic origin, and any disability). (Records may be used to determine whether members of one sex or persons of a certain racial group or those with a disability do not apply for employment, or apply in smaller numbers than might be expected, or are shortlisted or appointed in a lower proportion than their application rate, or are concentrated in certain jobs, faculties, or sub-faculties.)

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6. Review of recruitment practice
Recruitment procedures and practices will be kept under review so as to ensure that this code is being adhered to. The University's Equal Opportunities Officer has responsibility for advising on the operation of this code and for the distribution to those involved in the recruitment and selection processes of information about the Sex Discrimination Act, the Race Relations Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, and other relevant legislation.

Council shall have power to make changes in this code by decree from time to time, under the provisions of Tit. IV, Sect. I, cl. 2.'

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2 Status of Master of Arts

Mr Vice-Chancellor reports that the status of Master of Arts under the provisions of Ch. V, Sect. vi, cl. 1 (Statutes, 1995, p. 345) has been accorded to the following persons who are qualified for membership of Congregation:

SIMON WALLING TEMPEST TANKARD, Careers Service

GUNNAR TRAUSTASON, D.PHIL., Christ Church

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3 Register of Congregation

Mr Vice-Chancellor reports that the following names have been added to the Register of Congregation:

Helm, D.R., MA, M.Phil., D.Phil., New College
Sanders, G.C.A., MA, Wadham
Tankard, S.W.T., MA status, Careers Service
Traustason, G., MA status, D.Phil., Christ Church

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CONGREGATION 29 May

Elections

On Thursday, 29 May, the following were duly elected to hold office from the first day of Michaelmas Term 1997 for the periods stated:

As Delegates of Benefices

For six years

E.G. BARRATT, MA, Fellow of Oriel

W.B. STEWART, MA, D.PHIL., Fellow of Exeter

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As a Curator of the Examination Schools

For three years

J.H. HARRIS, MA, Student of Christ Church

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As members of the General Board of the Faculties

(from members of the Faculties of English, Law, Literae Humaniores, Modern Languages, Modern History, Music, Oriental Studies, Social Studies, and Theology)

For four years

L.A. WHITEHEAD, MA, Fellow of Nuffield

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(from members of the Faculties of Anthropology and Geography, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Physiological Sciences, and Psychological Studies)

For four years

J.C. ELLORY, MA, D.SC., Fellow of Corpus Christi

W.G. RICHARDS, MA, D.PHIL., D.SC., Fellow of Brasenose

For three years

P.J. COLLINS, MA, D.PHIL., Fellow of St Edmund Hall

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As members of the Hebdomadal Council

For six years

R.C. REPP, MA, D.PHIL., Master of St Cross

R.G. SMETHURST, MA, Provost of Worcester

R. WALLER, MA, Principal of Harris Manchester

For three years

J.M. LANDERS, MA, Fellow of All Souls

[The votes recorded were: for Dr Landers, 334; for the Master of St Cross, 648; for the Provost of Worcester, 592; for Mr Southwell, 266; for the Principal of Harris Manchester, 393]

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CONGREGATION 3 June

Promulgation of Statutes

Forms of Statutes were promulgated. No notice of opposition having been given, Mr Vice-Chancellor declared the preambles carried of the proposed Statutes (1) establishing a Professorship of Mathematics and its Applications and a Professorship of Pure Mathematics and (2) establishing a Professorship of Transplantation.

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BOARDS OF FACULTIES

For changes in regulations for examinations, to come into effect on 20 June, see `Examinations and Boards' below.