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:
SU Vice President Student Welfare and Chair of the SU Tackling Racism Committee
“University is promoted as a place of freedom, open-mindedness and self-discovery; however, every single year, we constantly hear reports of racial harassment against ethnic minorities by their peers, or members of staff.
The time for talking and making promises is over!
Whilst the tragic murder of George Floyd and Covid-19 brought about a wave of solidarity in the moment, it is important for us to ensure that the changes and actions that took place after the mass public outrage continue and progress, until inequality within HE is dissolved.
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.
I believe what happens within an institution reflects what is going on outside its borders. So, although we cannot instantly change the systemic racism of the outside world, we can control what happens on our campus and lobby for change.
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!”