Equality Report 2020/2021 TB1

From the 13th December 2020 to the 31st January 2021, members of the A Cappella Society were given the opportunity to fill out a survey asking for their views on how the society was run and how inclusive the society is. 36 people completed the survey, a similar number to the previous survey, and these responses are what the report is based on. This is a relatively small number of responses compared to the number of members in the society however, this may be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic. The responses given in the survey will be considered when making future plans, but it should also be recognised that they may not give a completely representative picture of the society. The report will be split into 6 sections: Diversity of Membership, Atmosphere of Equality and Inclusiveness, Harassment and Discrimination, Communication with Members, Reflections from Last Survey, and our Plan for the Next Academic Term.

Diversity Membership

The first part of this section looks at how diverse our membership is, and the second part details how we could actively improve this to give our members a more enriching experience.

Q: How many years have you been in the society?

The results are as follows: 33.3% of respondents were in their first year of being in the society, 33.3% were in their second year, 27.8% were in their third year, and 5.6% were in their fourth. This data shows that the society is attracting a good amount of new members, even during a pandemic, whilst also keeping members returning to the society.

Q: How old are you?

The results are as follows: 25% of members are between the ages of 17-19, and 75% are between the ages of 20-22. There were no respondents who said their age was above 22. The data indicates that most members of the society are undergraduates. Possibly more should be done to attract postgraduates/ mature students to broaden the age diversity. Our ground Rebound, which involves the inclusion of alumni, aims to attract older members and alumni so maybe more publicity is needed to promote this group.

Q: Do you consider yourself to have a disability under the Equality Act of 2010? The Equality Act defines a disabled person as someone who has a mental or physical impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The results are as follows: 88.9% replied no, and 11.1% replied yes. This is an increase of yes answers since our last survey which was 2.7% and this could indicate our society has become more accessible to those with disabilities. However, more can always be done to make rehearsals, events and socials more accessible.

Q: What is your ethnic background?

The results are as follows: 11.1% said their ethnicity was Asian/ British Asian, 83.3% said they were White British, 2.8% they were White Non-British, and 2.8% said they would prefer not to say. This data suggests the society is mostly White British which in the interests of diversity, the society should aim to address. In a survey the University completed in 2016, 74% of accepted students were White and 11.5% were Asian. Our percentage of White members is over the percentage the University published for the University wide report. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable lack of students who define themselves as Black, though there the number of respondents was relatively small compared to those who have membership so this may not be the case. In 2016, the University reported 7% of acceptances were Black students and our survey reported none. This means it is very important that the society reaches out to BME societies and collaborates with them on events in the coming years to make our membership more diverse. It is also important that music from all cultures, not just those of Western societies, are performed to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

Q: What is your ethnic background?

The results are as follows: 2.8% said they are Asexual, 13.9% said they are Bisexual, 2.8% said they are a Gay man, 2.8% claimed they are a Gay woman/ Lesbian, 72.2% said they are Heterosexual/ straight, 2.8% said they didn’t know, and 2.8% said they preferred not to say. In 2017, it was reported by the Office for National Statistics that 4.1% of 16-24 year-olds identified as Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual (LGB). The data collected from the A Cappella society shows LGBTQ+ representation is much higher than national averages, and we should continue to encourage anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ to join the society.

Q: Do you consider your own gender identity to be different from that associated with your sex as registered at birth?

The results are as follows: 83.3% said no, 13.9% said yes, and 2.8% said they would prefer not to say. The society’s participation of members who identify as being a different gender to the one they were registered as at birth is much higher that the national average with only 0.75% of the population identifying as transgender (2018). The society should continue to support these members and make sure the society maintains its supportive environment.

Q: What is your religion or belief?

The results are as follows: 25% said they are Agnostic, 41.7% said are Atheist, 2.8% said they are Buddhist, 22.2% said they are Christian, 2.8% said they are Jewish, 2.8% said they are Muslim, and 2.8% said they would prefer not to say. There is a large range of beliefs in the society however, this can always be improved. Collaborative events with ethnic or religious societies are a great way to attract new members.

Q: The Society is doing all that it can to have a diverse membership?

Results: 36 people responded to this, 1 being not doing much and 5 being doing a lot. The mean average result was 4.11, with 80.5% of respondents answering 4 or 5. This is a high average but there is always room for improvement.

Q: Do you have any ideas on how we could broaden our diversity?

Result: There were 16 responses to this, mostly talking about collaborating on events with BAME and other minority societies.

“Collaborations with other socities with different ethnic/ religious/ gender diversity breakdowns, to hopefully encourage a much stronger, more diverse membership in our society.”

“Perhaps more publicising of how accepting we are of everyone. Honestly this is such an accepting society, and I feel more people should know that!”

“Advertise the unauditioned groups more throughout the year to encourage more people of different abilities to join.”

Atmosphere of Equality and Inclusiveness

This section asks members how well the society creates an atmosphere of equality and inclusivity, and how we could improve.

Q: The Society has a strong atmosphere of equality and inclusiveness.

Results: The mean average was 4.16. This is a high average but the responses to the next questions will show how the society can improve.

Q: What do you think contributes to this atmosphere?

Results: Answers varied to this, ranging from inclusive socials to the accessibility of the unauditioned groups.

“The ability to get involved no matter your skill/ ability musically, regular rehearsals and socials that are made to be accessible, and frequent posting in social media and communication via email to encourage activity and engagement.”

“That the same gender groups are all “identifying” groups which makes it very trans inclusive. Everyone is very friendly and the committee make an effort to include everyone.”

“Friendly and welcoming vibe in the unauditioned groups, Facebook groups creating a community from the different facets of the society, knowledge that there are lots of people you can go to with issues (MDs, Group Reps, general committee).”

Q: How could this atmosphere be improved?

Results: Most responses talked about having more socials and doing more to bring together the auditioned and unauditioned groups.

“Cross collaborations between the auditioned and unauditioned groups as there is still a divide there.”

“More family socials!! We haven’t been able to do the usual night out every month this year so it would be nice to have more socials to get to know our families better and have a few drinks with the society x”

“More mixing of groups and maybe more connection between committee and groups.”

Q: If you have been in the society for more than 1 year, where have you seen an improvement in this atmosphere?

Results: Responses varied to this question.

“Particularly in whole-society inter group relations- there is a much more positive, friendly and cohesive feeling across the whole society now that wasn’t the case in my first year.”

“Definitely the prominence of the unauditioned groups in the society has grown.”

“It’s been good to see more unauditioned representation on committee!”

“It’s difficult to say because we haven’t really had anything in person. But, I think there seems to be more regular socials this year even though most have been online which have been really good for this, especially non-drinking socials.”

Harassment and Discrimination

This section asks members if they have experienced any harassment/ discrimination within the society and then asks for ways to improve the way it is dealt with.

Q: Have you ever witnessed or experienced harassment or discrimination within the society?

Results: 94.4% said no, and 5.6% said yes. In the interests of keeping respondents anonymous any further explanations will not be published though the committee will discuss them and take action if needed.

Q: What does the society do well in terms of combating discrimination?

“There is a very clear way to approach any issues with the assured presences of the equalities officer, and these issues are usually dealt with swiftly and cleanly!”

“It is very open about how we should all be treated well, and that if anyone needs to talk about any issues, they can go to any of the committee members.”

“Equalities officer as a core committee role make it feel like there is a designated person to tackle these issues. The accepting nature of the society also helps with this.”

Q: What more could the Society do to combat discrimination?

Results: There were 7 responses to this mostly talking about communication and maintaining equal treatment within the society.

“Make it clear on groups/ via email that the a cappella society will not tolerate any breaches of the SU code of conduct, especially relating to harassment and discrimination.”

“More regular anonymous chances to give feedback which doesn’t go to the equalities survey? Suggestion box?”

“Just keep equal policies for similar offences whilst also ensuring fair and reasonable discipline.”

Communication with Members

This section looks at how well information is communicated to members and asks for suggestions on how it can be improved.

Q: The society listens to its members and makes changes in response to their views.

The results are as follows: 36 people responded to this, 1 being not doing much and 5 being doing a lot. The mean average was 4.26 which is a high average but more can always be done to help our members.

How do we as a society communicate well with our members?

Results: Most responses focus on social media/ email posts and committee and group rep support.

“The frequent newsletters are great, and I find the Instagram and Facebook really helpful to know what’s going on.”

“Minutes are beautiful, it’s common knowledge that meetings are open to all members which is really great!”

“Frequent posts about committee minutes for everyone to read should they want. Group reps who represent the different groups can contribute to committee.”

Q: How could communication be improved?

Results: Most responses focused on frequency of communication through social media and group reps.

“Group reps maybe list the main things going on in the society in rehearsal (this may happen in some groups tbf)”

“Maybe sharing releases on the main Facebook group? Lots of advertising done through insta but less on fb”

“Quite hard when it’s all virtual but I guess just making sure group reps relay as much information as possible between main committee and sub-committee.”

Reflection from the Last Survey

Q: The society has listened and built upon the answers of the last survey.

Results: 27 people responded to this, 1 being not doing much and 5 being doing a lot. The mean average was 3.66 which shows that committee are listening to feedback but more needs to be done.

Q: Was there anything that you feel was not improved since the last survey?

The results are as follows: Most responses mentioned the difficultly of functioning in a pandemic but suggested more the society can do.

“Obviously it’s been difficult with coronavirus, but I still think there’s room for more socials and interaction amongst members outside of rehearsals.”

“Inclusion in socials, but that’s the fault of the pandemic really, not for want of trying by committee.”

“Diversity of the society”

Other Comments

There were 13 comments here, though a few were non-serious, which either thanked the committee for their work and support or gave helpful suggestions.

Q: Do you have anything to add/ any comments for the society?

“If we don’t get opportunities to perform to an audience, will there be a chance to perform for a camera (ie record a live performance)”

“A massive well done to everyone on this committee, this is the toughest year for everyone and you are all working so hard to get things done! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!”

“Love that we’ve still managed to have online rehearsals”

Plan for Next Academic Term (TB2)

From the feedback that has been given in this equalities survey, this is what we intend to focus on in this upcoming term:

Events:

  • Hopefully organise an online event where groups will come together to perform
  • To continue social events; especially family and non-drinking

Support:

  • To continue to support LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority members of our society and make it clear that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated
  • Ensuring all equalities concerns are kept anonymous to protect the identity of the members involved

Socials:

  • To have regular and welcoming family socials which focus on building friendships between members of different groups
  • Organise socials with different societies to build bonds between two groups
  • To continue to host non-drinking socials

Communications:

  • Continue to regularly update social media with relevant information for members
  • To put out another equalities survey next term to allow members to give committee feedback
  • Regular emails from the President detailing what the society has done and upcoming events
  • Continue with the anonymous feedback form that the Equalities Officer will check before each meeting
  • Ensure all members know they can attend committee meetings

We aim to make the atmosphere of this society as welcoming and inclusive as possible for all our members by listening to member feedback and continuing to act on it.