Oxford is a prestigious university, albeit with many accompanying pressures. The collegiate system can provide a community to share both celebrations and hardships with. Yet it can sometimes be difficult when there are few others with the same ethnic background or a there are differences in the way we are treated. There are clear benefits to applying to Oxford, so do not let this discourage you from making an application!
Oxford can be a place for each individual to thrive and develop, in providing both a source of intellectual challenge in tutorials but – perhaps more importantly – outside of these curricular areas. Various incredible societies work to enable members to provide strength and knowledge to each other (through the sometimes difficult times) in developing a more supportive atmosphere at the University. From the spaces developed by CRAE (and other activist groups), to the numerous cultural and ethnic societies established at the university, safe spaces are available for everyone to reach out to! A few examples are the African and Caribbean Society, the Oxford Latin America Society, and the Oxford India Society. (There are many others, too). All work synergistically to try and create a better BME (black and ethnic minority) student experience.
We believe wholeheartedly that BME students should be part of the university community and thrive – as both individuals and as part of a collective. So, we urge more BME students to apply!
The Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE) aims to provide a safe space for all for discussions of issues of race and racism. We continually work towards a more inclusive Oxford, with a more diverse community of students.
Some of the things in the works for racial equality at Oxford, so far:
Launch of the implementation of racial awareness training for incoming freshers, to start a discussion on race.
Launch of equality and diversity training for staff to address any arising prejudice.
Curriculum reviews meetings are being held to create a wider range of scholars being studied. In other words, we will be able to see women, LGBTQ, and BME writers better represented in our chosen fields of study.
Actions from the first ever Race Summit, with attempted improvements in access and welfare structures for BME students
The creation of a university-level Racial Equality Working Group, including student representatives, to develop racial equality targets for the university to achieve.
Discussions for a Tutor for Race being a more prominent role
We need your voice to continue the activist journey towards racial equality at Oxford – so join us!
Although Oxford can be a difficult place for people of colour (PoC), there are numerous support structures in place to ensure that we feel comfortable here. Being part of CRAE has been invaluable for me; working together on various projects to make a difference for other students is extremely rewarding… it’s nice that many of the members of the campaign are also non-PoC, showing their care for the issues as well. Many colleges now have a BME officer on their JCR committees (representing our voices, and even holding racial awareness workshops). There's a multitude of societies to be involved in and interact with other PoCs around the university as well!