BME Students

The following information has been provided by the Pembroke REM (Racial and Ethnic Minorities) Student Representative.

Many terms are used around University, with BME (Black and Ethnic Minority) being a broadly used acronym. There are limitations to using this terminology, and so students/staff are sometimes more comfortable with using alternate language, which is noted in the Key Terms section below.



  • There are a few means of accessing welfare support, which are available to all within Pembroke College.

  • This can be in order to discuss particular concerns, related to related to race or differences in cultural experience, but can also be used in order to tackle other welfare concerns, such as with regards to mental health provision and anti-discrimination.

  • Find out more by browsing our Welfare Pages here.



  • There are JCR Welfare Representatives and other Peer Supporters (including an inter-collegiate alliance). With extensive training to provide emotional support, the Peer Supporters are an invaluable point of contact, when you need a keen listening ear.

  • In 2016, the Peers of Colour initiative was launched, where peer supporters utilise both their training and personal experiences, to provide assistance, tailored for BME students.

  • The JCR Racial and Ethnic Minorities Representative has both a welfare and liberation role. This rep will be able to address issues related to race and racism, particularly by signposting you to the correct individuals. See the current JCR committee members here.





  • The Racial Inequality Support Network (RISeN) is a newly set-up collective to provide a social escape for BME students/staff and facilitates discussions on aims to achieve racial equality.

  • A wide range of societies exist in Oxford to provide spaces for BME and international students.



  • Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE) is the Oxford University Student Union’s (OUSU) campaign, which works to develop a more inclusive and culturally aware environment at Oxford, and holds weekly meetings to develop ideas on how to combat racial inequality. The campaign's Race 101 workshop is a useful introduction to the discussions which need to be had in Oxford, on race and improving the BME student experience.

  • The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) - this allows a space for academic collaboration, but also develops projects to increase diversity in the humanities.

  • The Racial Equality Network is an initiative that was launched in 2009 to promote understanding between people of all races and cultures, whilst also providing support.

  • The Racial Equality Newsletter is a mailing list for people who have an interest in race equality at Oxford.



There are avenues through which you are able to report racial harassment.

  • Catherine Paxton (Director of Student Advice and Welfare Support Services) is able to be contacted to report any racial macro/micro-aggressions and is able to provide advice on how to escalate this further (for example, mediation with the other party or through the harassment policy, if this is appropriate)

  • True Vision is the official Police website which provides information about hate crimes, online forms for reporting a hate crime, and resources for support
  • Stop Hate UK provides an independent, confidential and accessible reporting and support for victims, witness and third parties of hate crime


  • Your right to protection from racial discrimination is also protected under legislation

  • Human Rights Act - This provides protection against discrimination in the rights established under the Act

  • Equality Act 2010 - This Act provides general legal protection against direct and indirect forms of discrimination, based upon the protected characteristic of race (it also covers other protected grounds, such as sex, disability and sexuality).



The below is quoted directly from the University site, but please do consult Pembroke's Academic Office for further assistance with this concern.

  • If you wish to uphold religious observances which impact on your ability to sit examinations at particular times, you should speak with your College office at the earliest opportunity and make an initial application for alternative arrangements so that your preferences may be taken into account during the setting of the examination timetable.

  • There is no guarantee at this stage that your requirements will be met, but once you receive your individual timetable, if there are any clashes with your religious observance, you may apply to the University for an adjustment to your individual timetable (under Part 12 of the Examination Regulations).



The importance of recognising that individuals can identify with many different liberation groups is crucial. This section covers other points of contact available to you.



  • OUSU’s Women’s Campaign (including students who are gender non-binary or genderfluid) is dedicated to promoting gender equality and providing a platform for feminist discussions.

  • WomCam’s Women of Colour group provides a safe space for discussion of concerns and socialising.

  • Points of contact include: OUSU’s Vice President for Women (Orla White, 2016-2017) and the JCR’s Gender Equalities Representative are also present to address any concerns which you may have, particularly within college.



  • OUSU’s LGBTQ+ Campaign acts as the political arm of Oxford’s LGBTQ+ community.  

  • Oxford University’s LGBTQ+ Society holds a more social role, encouraging friendships in the community, whilst also providing welfare support as well

  • In 2016, the ‘Rainbow Peer Supporters’ initiative has also been established, to provide emotional support for those who identify with the LGTBQ+ community.

  • Points of contact include: OUSU’s Vice President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities (Sandy Downs, 2016-2017); the LGBTQ+ Representative are also present to address any concerns you may have, particularly within college.



  • Oxford Student’s Disability Community (OSDC) is an OUSU campaign, dedicated to raising awareness about and improving treatment of disability.

  • Disability includes: physical, sensory, cognitive, mental and developmental disabilities, as well as those with chronic illnesses and learning difficulties.



  • Intersectionality: expressions interactions of social categorisations (such as race, class, and gender) as they apply to a given individual or group, which develops interdependent systems of discrimination or structural disadvantage.

  • Macroaggressions: structural practices, creating unjust or exclusionary conditions.

  • Microaggressions: brief, everyday interactions, which reinforce stereotypes to further marginalise BME students.

  • Implicit/Unconscious Bias: Individuals are influenced by the surrounding environment; this can result in attitudes or stereotypes which affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner, i.e. without the individual’s awareness or intentional control. Find out more here.

  • Ableism: discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

  • Institutional Bias: a tendency for institutional procedures to operate in ways which result in certain social groups being advantaged and others being disadvantaged

  • Alternative terms for BME: BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) or POC (People of Colour)