Clearing 2021

Tackling racism

At Essex, we are determined to take rapid action against racism on our campuses, and to ensure we’re supporting our students and staff.

These helpful tools and resources, and links to guidance and support, are here to help us uphold the short, medium and long-term actions as set out in the University's tackling racism action plan. 

Help and support

Harassment and bullying

If you feel that you are being subjected to harassment or bullying in any form, there is help available to you at the University through our Report and Support service.

We have appointed and trained a network of Harassment Support Workers who will listen to you and offer advice and support. Also, it’s important to know that black and minority ethnic students can request support from black counsellors.

Essex Students’ Union advice 

Essex Students’ Union Advice provides free, confidential and impartial advice on many issues giving students support if you’re worried, or just fancy a chat.

You can contact the service Monday to Friday 10am-4pm during term time and Monday to Friday 1pm -4pm during vacations, and also to book a 1-2-1 appointment over Zoom or telephone with an adviser.

Forums for our community

Essex Global Forum

The Essex Global Forum is a staff-led network which promotes, celebrates and emphasises the rich cultural diversity among Essex staff.

The Forum is part of our University's efforts to promote equality related to nationality, race, ethnicity, language and religion. The Forum is open to all members of staff regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, language and religion.

Essex BAME Staff Forum

The Black Asian and Minority Ethnic community (BAME) Staff Forum is a community group made up of staff, including academic staff, professional services and PhD students, who identify as BAME or people of colour (POC).

If you would like to know more about the Forum or would like to be added to the mailing list, please get in touch with the Forum’s chairs, Anita Hammer and Sandya Hewamanne.

Training and development

Understanding what constitutes a racist incident

As individuals we can raise our own awareness of what constitutes a racist incident.

For example,  microaggressions, explained in this BBC blog are:

“Brief queries, comments or actions sprinkled throughout day-to-day life that make others – particularly those in marginalised groups –feel bad about themselves.”

Also, micro-incivilities, explained by Professor Binna Kandola on the Advance HE website. He says:

“The blatant forms of prejudice have been called 'old-fashioned' racism,and can include verbal and physical abuse, as well as overt stereotyping. It's the sort of thing that many of us could never imagine ourselves doing. 'Modern racism' however is a different thing altogether. It is subtle, oblique and indirect in its manifestation, yet its impact on the people on the receiving end can be just as devastating, and sometimes more so.”

Unconscious bias awareness training

Think you're open minded?

We all like to think we are open-minded and objective but research has shown that beliefs and values gained from family, culture and a lifetime of experiences influence how we view and evaluate both others and ourselves.

The University has an Automatic Bias Essentials course on Moodle, which explores how the beliefs and values gained from family, culture and a lifetime of experiences heavily influence how we view and evaluate both others and ourselves.

You can also log into HR Organiser and search for ‘Unconscious bias’ to book your place on the next workshop.

Equality, diversity and inclusion training

As part of the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, and to comply with the Equality Act 2010, it is compulsory for all members of new and existing staff to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Essentials training module. It gives an insight into what is expected of us as members of our diversity University community, and our rights and responsibilities.

Bystander intervention

It’s important that we contribute to a positive culture, where staff and students feel able to bring their whole selves to their work and study.

We can all learn how to positively intervene and challenge microaggressions and negative behaviour in our bystander intervention training.

University staff can search for staff training by searching ‘bystander intervention’ on HR Organiser and students can sign-up via our student wellbeing service.

Resources

The following resources have been suggested for inclusion by members of our University community. If you have any suggestions you would like to be considered for publication, please contact diversity@essex.ac.uk.

Resources to support departments to decolonise the curricula

We are developing a series of resources to support our departments to decolonise their curricula. Some resources already exist, including the Achieving Potential Toolkit and the reading lists created on Talis by the anti-racist pedagogy working group. These will be reviewed and developed as necessary and added to this section.

Examples from other universities

Work specific to science

Communications – using the correct terminology 

The way we communicate is fundamental to upholding our approach to tackling racism. To help guide you in getting your written communications right, take a look at these useful resources:

Advance HE resources

Staff are encouraged to use the resources being created by the Advance HE project. Resources include a range of blogs and a series of webinars.

The ‘Tackling Racism on campus: Raising awareness and creating the conditions for confident conversations’ project has been funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SCF) to develop evidence-based resources to be used by Scottish universities and colleges as they respond to the findings in the EHRC inquiry report.

The predominately BAME Group quickly recognised the need to openly name racism. This ‘naming’ was recognised as a way to support tackling the systemic nature of racism across FE/HE education settings, in both physical and virtual campuses, as microcosms of society. These elements amplified the pressing need to address the hidden characteristics of racism embedded in how our institutions work and push for necessary structural change. As part of the project, the steering group have published a range of blogs and hosted a series of webinars.

Being Black at Essex webinar

University of Essex alumni and students come together to share their experiences of being Black at Essex in the past and present, and to share ideas around how universities like Essex can and should move forward, for Black History Month 2020

TED talk with Yassmin Abdel-Magied

What do you think when you look at this speaker? Well, think again. (And then again.) In this funny, honest, empathetic TED talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied challenges us to look beyond our initial perceptions, and to open doors to new ways of supporting others.

Journalist Gary Younge discusses ‘BAME’ 

In this British Academy webinar with Guardian journalist and writer, Gary Younge, among the discussion is the use of the term 'BAME' and 'Black', in the final Q&A section, which makes for interesting viewing.

White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack

In this SEED (Seeking Education Equity and Diversity) text, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" including notes for facilitators,written in 1989, author Peggy Macintosh explores how she:

“[Has] come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”

Examples of best practice

The following newsletter and video have been suggested for inclusion on this page by members of our University community as examples of best practice. If you have any suggestions you would like to be considered please contact diversity@essex.ac.uk.

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Telephone: 01206 873506