Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students

Our University is a flourishing and internationally diverse community, made up of people from more than 140 countries. We pride ourselves on being ranked 15th for international outlook in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024, and being the third most culturally diverse university in the UK.

Our University works to ensure that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students are well-represented and that effective advice and support services are available to any student who feels they are being discriminated against or harassed.

We are determined to take rapid action against racism on our campuses and to ensure we’re supporting both our students and our staff, as well as celebrating our diverse, global and inclusive community; a community that supports and encourages and respects every one of its members, as stated in the Essex Student Charter.

Tackling racism on campus

During summer 2020 we took a new approach to tackling racism in all its forms across our University, and it started with listening to our own community. Find out more about the work of the Tackling Racism Working Group which was set up in June 2020.

This page also highlights our education and research initiatives to tackle racism, alongside early action being taken by East 15 Acting School and the School of Health and Social Care.

Contacting our Report and Support service

It is illegal for people to discriminate against you on the grounds of your protected characteristics, including race.

You can report and get help if you feel that you're being discriminated against or harassed in any form, through the University’s Report and Support service which operates from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday during both term time and vacation.

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.

SU Advice

SU 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.

Policies to protect you

You can also find information and support about the University's equality and diversity policies that have been put in place to protect you.

Anyone should contact the Police if they have witnessed or have been a victim of a hate crime.

Student communications

During term time the University’s internal communications team produces Essex Spirit, a bi-weekly newsletter and blog for all Essex students.

The team aims to include all updates on news, issues, and events that our students need to hear about, and how to invite contributions about student life, such as blogs and vlogs.

Look out for the Essex Spirit email in your Essex inbox, and contact if you’d like to find out more.

Independent student initiatives

Read Sophie Kabangu’s blog about her experience as a first-time activist. Sophie is a Sociology with Human Rights student at the University of Essex, who has also spent the last year working on a campaign with Amnesty International to help homeless people in Colchester

Celebrating our cultural diversity

Events programme

There is a broad programme of celebrations and festivals reflecting the cultural diversity of our three campuses at Colchester, Southend and Loughton.

This includes events to celebrate Black History Month during October each year and fundraising events hosted by the African-Caribbean society, Malaysian Night, Holi celebrations in spring, Ghanaian Independence Day celebrations, Chinese New Year celebrations and others organised by cultural societies.

Arts programme

Art Exchange gallery  

Our Art Exchange has a full and varied programme of events reflecting and celebrating our University community's cultural diversity, including during October and November 2020, A Lament for Power, the outcome of a nine-month residency by artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy at the University of Essex.

Other recent and notable events include Theirry Oussou's Impossible is Nothing, the Open Your Eyes exhibition, Fuel for ThoughtWilliam Kentridge - Monument and 
Faiza Butt - Paracosm.

Lakeside Theatre, Colchester Campus 

Our Lakeside Theatre regularly hosts productions, talks and author events to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of our campus community. In this short film, Christine Gomes, Essex student and Assistant Stage Manager, describes her experience as being at the heart of preparations for the world première of O Starry Starry Night by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. Essex has also worked with Shakespeare’s Globe to stage the premiere of Omeros by Derek Walcott, as outlined in the article Bringing the Globe to Essex. The theatre has also hosted a season of ‘Words With …’ author events with the Albert Sloman Library, including conversations with Caleb Femi and Dina Nayeri.

SU societies

There are a large number of Students' Union cultural societies, including African-Caribbean, Asian, Chinese scholars, Ghanaian, Hong Kong Chinese, Japan, Korean, Malaysian, Mexican, Nigerian, Saudi, Taiwanese, Thai and Vietnamese.

Joining societies helps you to create your new home by making new friends. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can always start your own society.

Representatives for students

Our University strives to maintain a system of inclusion where everybody can be represented effectively.

As an Essex student, you have a team of elected Students’ Union Sabbatical and Student Community Officers, at Colchester, Southend and Loughton Campuses, to represent you.

These elected student community officer roles now include Students' Union Black officer at Colchester, Andrea Curtis, Black officer at Southend, Hannah Akhalu, and Asian officer, Yi Shan Lim.

Essex BAME Staff Forum

The Black Asian and Minority Ethnic community 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, Hannah Gibson and Sandya Hewamanne.

Black Researchers Hub

The Black Researchers’ Hub is a pioneering learning platform, which aims to break down barriers and support the next generation of black researchers at Essex as well as developing your research skills whatever your career aspirations are.”

Decolonising the curriculum

We are actively drawing up a plan to decolonise the curriculum, including developing resources to support departments. 

In this blog by Dr Hannah Gibson and Dr Kyle Jerro, who are leading a project to decolonise our curriculum, they tell us more about that work and how you can get involved.

You may also like to read Decolonising the curriculum: English dominates but at a cost to African languages by Adeyemi Awomodu, BA English Language and Linguistics student, posted on 15 September 2020, and Decolonising the curriculum at Essex: a student perspective by Samira Diebire published July 2020.

There is also extensive information about this activity being added regularly to a dedicated space on our Staff Directory, including resources and best practice guides, and we will be keeping our community updated on progress through our internal news channels. 

Your career and other support

  • Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers.
  • The Advisory, Conciliation & Arbitration Service (ACAS) website includes information and advice on equality and diversity in the workplace.
  • Asian Jobsite is dedicated to e-recruitment within the Asian community. The Asian Jobsite brings together the most comprehensive package to help you manage the success of your equal opportunities recruitment campaign, including brand building, job postings, and helping to drive traffic to your organisation.
  • Diversity Milkround gives advice on diversity and CSR on Milkround graduate careers resource.
  • Ethnic Jobsite offers a one-stop-shop, for organisations with a positive equal opportunities recruitment policy.
  • Prospects Handling Discrimination is an excellent source of information and advice on a range of issues including disability, ethnicity, gender, maturity, and sexual orientation.
  • Rare Recruitment connects exceptional people from diverse backgrounds with great careers in top organisations.
  • The Runnymede Trust works to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain where citizens and communities feel valued and enjoy equal opportunities to develop their talents.
  • Sponsors for Educational Opportunity London provides superior educational support and career access to young people from under-represented backgrounds to help maximize their opportunities for university and career success.
  • Target Jobs can help identify diversity positive employers, decide how and whether to disclose your circumstances, and get an understanding of your rights.
  • Upreach supports undergraduates from less-privileged backgrounds to develop professionally and fulfil their career potential.
  • The Windsor Fellowship is a unique organisation that runs personal development and training programmes targeting talented Black and Asian students in the UK.

Research centres and organisations

Departments and centres in universities across the UK which focus on issues of race, ethnicity, religion, racism, discrimination and harassment:

Departments and research institutes

Third sector

Government departments

Information resources

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.