Promoting equality and diversity
The University of Essex’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity is long-standing. Significantly, in 1970 Essex was the first university to launch Nightline, an anonymous telephone support helpline, now operating at over 40 universities. In the early 1990’s Essex was one of the first universities to introduce a Harassment Advisory Network, a confidential signposting service for both staff and students experiencing bullying or harassment. The Network was, and still is, considered a model of good practice that has subsequently been adopted by many other universities. In addition Essex was one of the pioneers of modelling a multi-faith way of working, and its Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre is now home to representatives of more than a dozen religions.
The University is a Two Ticks Employer and has also signed the Mindful Employer Charter for employers who are positive about mental health. Essex is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and, in April 2013, submitted an application for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award.
In addition the University offers a range of courses covering all aspects of equality and diversity and has an on-going programme of awareness-raising and promotional activities. Examples of these are:
- Holding a Tuesday Taster in May 2013 to mark IDAHO day (International Day against homophobia and transphobia). A speaker from Stonewall spoke about the benefits to staff of the University being a Stonewall Diversity Champion and Dr Richard Cornes from the School of Law spoke about the advances being achieved by campaigns in the UK and elsewhere to win marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
- Celebrating Disability History Month with a series of events in December 2012. These included an opportunity to test-drive the Boma 7, an all-terrain vehicle for wheelchair-users, taster sessions for paralympic events including wheelchair basketball and seated volleyball and a Disability Fair.
- Having a stall to promote the Harassment Advisory Network on Stress Awareness Day in November 2012
- Developing a University of Essex TV and Red Radio advert to promote equality and diversity and to raise awareness of the Harassment Advisory Network, March 2012
- Working with Theatre&, a drama-based training provider, to deliver 'How to Manage Bullying and Harassment' workshops, July 2011
- Celebrating 40 years of the University’s LGBT Society with the University of Essex Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans History Week: 40 Years of Queer, February 2011
- Celebrating Black History Month, October 2010, with a special performance of I Got a Home in Barack by Tayo Oluko
- Marking International Women’s Day in 2009 with Dr Elizabeth Hall, a local GP; in 2010 with Hannah Stodel, Paralympic sailor; and in 2011 with Stefanie Reid, Paralympic athlete
- Running a poster competition for local school children to mark anti-bullying week in November 2008
- Running an Equality and Diversity Events week in November 2008 which included sessions on promoting good campus relations, dyslexia, stress awareness and British Sign Language
- Having stalls at Freshers Village and new staff induction Market Place, promoting Equality and Diversity and the Harassment Advisory Network to new and returning students and to new staff