The day-to-day experience of being a Jewish student or member of staff at a British university is not always easy. From antisemitism in its many forms to lack of accommodation for Jewish festivals and practises, it can feel like an uphill struggle to be included.

Recently, the Taskforce on Antisemitism in Higher Education published a report on Jewish staff and student experiences on university campuses. The taskforce was established by the Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism, Lord Mann, with support from members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism in 2022.

The taskforce visited more than 50 universities, including the University of Essex, to gather information on the experiences currently faced by Jewish staff and students on their campuses and following those visits compiled a report to make recommendations to improve relationships with the Jewish staff and student communities.

Alongside the report, a Good Practice Guide was also released, comprising of eight steps that universities can take to support their Jewish staff and students, examples of best practice demonstrating how universities can and are supporting Jewish staff and students, and included some key findings and recommendations which can be found in the report.

The work of colleagues at the University of Essex to create an inclusive environment for our Jewish staff and students features in the report and good practice guide, including:

I will be stepping down as Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities) and Inclusion Champion for Jewish Students and Staff at the end of July 2023. The past five years as Jewish inclusion champion has been a humbling experience as I’ve learned from students and staff what it feels like to be Jewish at Essex. One lesson I take away is the need for constant vigilance against antisemitism in all its shapes.

On 1 August 2023, Professor Sanja Bahun becomes Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities) and the Inclusion Champion for Jewish Staff and Students. Sanja is very much looking forward to working with the University’s Jewish staff and students and enhancing their experience of inclusion.

Students and staff with questions or concerns about Jewish inclusion are welcome to contact Sanja, Elaine Brown, who is our Director of Inclusion and myself.