Tackling Racism

Join us in exposing and fighting racism.

As your Students' Union we stand in direct opposition to any form of racism. This page is a home for the latest information on work that we're doing to combat racism, updates from other campaigns that share our aims, and useful resources and support if ever you need them.

We all have a part to play in this fight.

As a Students’ Union we have a decades-long history of fighting against racism in any form. It is important as a Students’ Union for us to stand by our student members by listening and creating safe spaces and platforms.

It is just as important for us as an institution to address how we ourselves may contribute to systemic racism and oppression and hold ourselves accountable.

We are also committed to holding the University, at large, accountable for any racism they may perpetuate institutionally.

We will continue to drive this approach as a key priority of the Students’ Union’s leadership team.

Although the University’s Tackling Racism Working Group was disbanded, we as an SU are still committed to working with the University to help improve the racial equality, progression and representation of black and ethnic students and staff, through the implementation of the Race Equality Charter. As a Student’s Union, we have:

  • Encouraged debates which has led to action within the University
  • Held ourselves accountable and learnt from our past failures
  • Set-up committees and created black and Asian Student Community Officer positions who represent the needs of their community
  • Created hate reporting centres to give our students a safe and confidential space to report their experiences

However, this is still not enough! We are the ones to set the tone for the next generation, so it time for us to collectively hold the responsibility to educate, challenge and change the culture around racism – It is not good enough to say ‘I’m not racist’.

We must do more by actively challenging others and fighting back against racism and microaggressions within our friendship groups, lecture halls, and places of work.

We’re working hard with you and for you, but we need people to listen and understand the impact this has on each other, our campus, our culture and our communities. We want everyone to recognise the power they hold as students and staff to make a difference and make Essex a safe place for ALL our students.

At Essex, we like to say we are rebels; stereotype-breakers, world-shakers and opinion -makers, so be involved with the change, refuse to be conform institutional racism and make your voice heard!

Despite being an organisation that has campaigned and fought against racism for more than 50 years, the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the resulting global Black Lives Matter movement inspired us to urgently reflect on what more we could do as a Students’ Union to genuinely tackle racism in all its forms.

We concluded that, despite a significant amount of effort over the years, there was much more that needed to be done in better understanding and representing our diverse student communities, campaigning for change, improving the diversity of the Students’ Union, and working with the university to tackle racism at Essex. 

To coordinate this work we established a Tackling Racism Committee, an official governance committee that reports directly into the Students’ Union Trustee Board. 

Our Tackling Racism Committee meets every 8 weeks and is made up of:

  • Elected SU student representatives, including representatives from our diverse student communities
  • External members of the Trustee Board
  • Senior members of our Director team, including our CEO.

There is still a great deal of work to be done to tackle racism, but the Committee has already led to a number of significant actions including: 

  • Providing student representation on the university’s Tackling Racism Working Group, which led to the creation of a wide-reaching Anti-Racism Action Plan for the University
  • Introducing compulsory, externally delivered anti-racism training for all Students’ Union staff
  • Undertaking a full refresh of unconscious bias training refresh for all Students’ Union staff 
  • Reviewing the Students’ Union’s recruitment processes to identify and implement improvements with the aim of increasing the diversity of applicants
  • Starting a more comprehensive, organisation-wide approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, working with the university and external experts to identify the best support in embedding this within our organisational strategy

If you have information or experiences that you would like the Tackling Racism Committee to reflect on please email us.


If you are subject to a racist incident or witness one there are ways in which you can report it. 

What you choose to do will depend on whether it is an emergency, if you are in immediate danger and also where you are.


If you feel in immediate danger you should contact the appropriate emergency services.  If you are off-campus this would be contacting 999 to request emergency police support.  If you are on campus, you are advised to contact Campus Patrol Staff in the first instance - they can then arrange for emergency services to gain access to campus as necessary.  You can contact your campus Patrol Staff in an emergency situation as follows:

  • Colchester Campus - contact the Information Centre on Square 3 or by calling 2222 or 01206 872222
  • Southend Campus - contact University Square Reception or by calling 01702 328400 or 07827 988085
  • Loughton Campus - during office hours (9am - 5pm) contact the main Reception on 5983 or 0208 508 5983.  Between 5pm and midnight (Monday - Saturday) contact Security on 07825 670709.


If you wish to report the behavior of an individual member of the University/group of individuals from the University, the University operates a Report and Support system for reporting any type of bullying, harassment, sexual violence, hate crime or discrimination.  Reports can be made in two ways:

  1. Reporting to an adviser - choosing to report in this way will mean your contact details will be sent to a University adviser.  They will be in contact with you within 3 days of you making the report to discuss the report and your wellbeing and options.  You can also request the University to take action on the report when you submit it.  This would mean the report is sent to the appropriate team for investigation (e.g. Student Conduct, University HR etc).
  2. Reporting anonymously - if you choose this option, you will not be contacted following the submission of your report.  The University would be unable to take action on anonymous reports but the information provided will be used to provide statistical information and to inform the University’s proactive and preventative work on tackling sexual violence, harassment, hate crimes and bullying.

If you wish to discuss the options, or would like help to submit a report, you are welcome to contact SU Advice and one of our advisers would be happy to discuss this and support you through the process.

If you want to you can also report the incident to the Police by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 if not an immediate emergency.  SU Advice is also a Hate Crime Reporting Centre, head here for more details.


In some cases you may find that you see or witness a situation, or discussion that makes you or another person feel uneasy and you may be in a position to stand up and intervene.

Before you can intervene effectively, it is vital to think about your own personal safety and the safety of those around you. Once you’ve assessed this, you can intervene in the following three ways:

  • Direct: this approach can be used to address your friends and people you know. Do not use this method in situations that can risk your own safety. You can ask them, "Hey, what’s going on?" or "Is everything okay?" Make your presence known and that you're not happy with what’s occurring.
  • Delegate: in situations that are potentially dangerous or the harassment or assault is physical, contact the closest authority figure. Depending on where the incident is happening and what type of harassment or assault has occurred, you should contact campus security on Square 3, your department, Students' Union security staff, your Resident Assistant or local police.
  • Distract: confrontation can be uncomfortable and awkward for many people. However, sometimes causing a distraction between the parties involved can be a simple solution to prevent a serious problem. Pretending to you know the persons involved or distracting them is an easy way to shift the focus.