At Essex, our people are at the heart of everything we do, and our aim is to create an inclusive study, research, and work environment where all members of our community can flourish. This commitment is embedded throughout our Education Strategy (.pdf), Research Strategy (.pdf), and People Supporting Strategy (.pdf), as we understand the importance of recognising the diversity of our community and ensuring that all members can achieve success. As part of this commitment, we are launching a consultation to understand the experiences of our Muslim staff and students at the University.
In 2021 Universities UK (UUK) published a report which highlighted the widespread nature of Islamophobia in the UK and the role that universities can play in tackling Islamophobia. According to a 2017/18 survey carried out by the NUS amongst Muslim university students in the UK, one in three respondents said that they had experienced some kind of abuse or crime at their university, and the majority of these respondents believed that this abuse or crime was motivated by prejudice against their Muslim identity. Muslim students also usually report lower satisfaction with their overall higher education experience than many other groups.
As a University, we want to proactively develop our programme of work on Tackling Islamophobia and improving the experiences of Muslim staff and students at Essex. Input from our community is key and we want to understand the views and lived experiences that our Muslim staff and students have had, to identify how we can be more inclusive as an institution.
There are two elements to our consultation:
- First, we want to understand if and how Islamophobia manifests on campus and whether our practices and procedures are having any indirect negative impact on our Muslim community.
- Second, we want to consult on a definition of Islamophobia to adopt as an institution, so that we can develop a shared understanding of the issue we are trying to tackle.
Through this consultation process, we want to understand what measures and initiatives we can put in place as an institution to be more inclusive to Muslim students and staff.
Following this consultation period, we will make recommendations for to the University Steering Group and begin implementation if approved in the Spring term 2024.
If you are a staff or student at the University, and follow Islam, we would appreciate you taking the time to respond to our consultation. You can access the survey link here.
Please respond to this survey by June 30.