Religion and Belief are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. Religion includes any religion. People are also protected if they do not follow a certain religion or have no religion at all. Additionally, a religion must have a clear structure and belief system. Belief means any religious or philosophical belief or a lack of such belief. To be protected, a belief must satisfy various criteria, including that it is a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour. (ACAS July 2010).
For a summary of the key legislation see Equality Challenge Unit guidance: Religion or belief - key legislation.
The University of York celebrates and values the diversity brought by its individual members and aims to create an environment where religious beliefs are welcomed and respected and where harassment and unfair treatment of any kind is not tolerated. The University continues its progress on meeting the needs of its diverse student and staff population through consultation and engagement.
Policies: The University of York has a Policy for students on religion, belief and non-belief which covers: facilities and services, dress code, food requirements, faith provision on campus, teaching, learning and assessment. The University's Equality and Diversity in Employment Policy outlines protection for staff on the grounds of religion, belief and non-belief.
Prayer Provision: The University has a number of spaces on campus for prayer and reflection. A multifaith room is located on the Heslington East campus in the Ron Cooke Hub and another in Wentworth College. A new Islamic prayer space has recently been provided in Alcuin College in consultation with the University of York Islamic Society.
University Chaplaincy: The University Chaplaincy is open to people of all faiths and none. A team of Chaplains is available to the University community.
Religious Festivals: The University has developed, in consultation with students, a list of key festivals celebrated by members of the University community. These are highlighted in the Calendar of Significant Festivals in order to assist in planning. Information on specific festivals is also provided. The information on Ramadan includes information and guidance on healthy fasting. The Jewish Society holds special events to celebrate festivals throughout the year.
Meeting Dietary Needs: The University’s Catering Services are committed to ensuring that services provided meet the diverse needs of the University community. An 'in house' Halal service standard has been developed for the Roger Kirk Centre (Galleria Restaurant) which enables customers to select appropriate dishes at the point of service. All University food outlets provide at least one vegetarian option at all times, in accordance with the Vegetarian Society guidelines. An on-campus Costcutter supermarket provides ranges of foods which include authentic asian groceries, organic and fair trade products. In addition, the International Student Handbook provides a list of local suppliers who stock a range of foods to meet different dietary requirements.
Non-alchohol events: The University and Students' Union work hard towards ensuring a range of Non-alcohol events are available for students.
Harassment: The University works hard to ensure that members of its community can work and study in an environment free from harassment or unfair treatment of any kind in relation to their religion or belief.
Speak out and challenge discrimination positively
Help to eliminate harassment and report it immediately
Play your part in promoting a culture of respect and tolerance
Contact the Equality and Diversity Office Administrator to arrange for the Equality and Diversity Roadshow to be displayed in your department.
Updated by the Equality and Diversity Adviser