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Race and gender

Understanding College community composition in terms of race and gender


As a College we aim to be inclusive and diverse in terms of our staff, Senior Members (including our Fellows), and our students. We also aspire to be accountable about how well we are doing in achieving this aim through periodic analysis of our community composition and some of our administrative processes.

To this end, in early 2020, we undertook a survey of our staff and Senior Members to better understand their composition across all ‘protected characteristics’, as defined by the Equality Act 2010. We have compared this with relevant figures from the University as a whole, and relevant figures for our student body. Ethnicity and gender were identified as key priority areas, whilst acknowledging there are other protected characteristics and other measures of diversity, that we may be able to become more informed and accountable about in future.

This page and the data it contains should be read in the context of the College’s wider statements and related policies here, and in the context of those University policies and guiding principles by which the College abides, including Dignity@Work and Equal Opportunities, and our support of the wider aims of the University’s Equality and Diversity Section (Raven log-in). We have also sought below to provide an update on how the College has furthered its commitment to equality and diversity during 2020, both practically and strategically.

Key figures for staff and Senior Members (2020)

Note: Since numbers of some categories for ethnicity are small, we have necessarily used the collective term “BAME” for statistics, or “Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic”, while recognising the limitations of using this category.

  • 12% of College staff identify as BAME, compared with 6% across the University and around 17% in the city of Cambridge
  • 16% of Senior Members who responded identify as BAME, which broadly mirrors the University’s teaching Staff
  • However, these numbers are significantly lower than for our student body which has on average been only 50% White over the past five years
  • Our staff is 70% female, with no significant difference between office-based and other staff
  • Our Senior Membership is not well-balanced in terms of gender – other than our post-docs
  • Only around 30% of our Senior Membership, which includes our fellowship, are female which mirrors the overall University figure.

Key figures for students (2015-2019)

  • Around a half of Hughes Hall students identify as White
  • Chinese is the second largest student ethnicity at around 20%
  • Other Asian/Asian British students make up a further 15% of the College
  • The average proportion of Black/Black mixed students is small (less than 4%)
  • Hughes Hall receives significantly more applications from men than women
  • Over 60% of our students are male, with just under 40% female.

Practical change

During 2019/20:

  • We have set up an Equality and Diversity Working Group which reports to the College Council and includes representatives from the student body (MCR Committee), fellows, staff, and other Senior Members
  • We have mandated that all staff and Senior Members undertake Equality and Diversity Essentials training and Understanding Unconscious or Implicit Bias training provided by the University
  • In Easter term 2019, the MCR Committee convened listening groups and meetings of students, Senior Members and staff to address matters of equality and diversity and to contribute to College-wide improvement in these areas
  • We have appointed a Race Equality Champion, Dr Othman Cole to take the lead in promoting equality for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and as a point of contact for students if they have concerns related to race and ethnicity issues
  • Members of our student community are welcome, and encouraged, to contact Dr Cole if they have concerns related to race and ethnicity issues which they would like to discuss
  • The MCR Committee have filled the previously vacant BAME & Equality Officer post and the officer is now working to help make Hughes Hall a leading institution for BAME students and a diverse and inclusive environment for all
  • The College is committed to actively monitoring and publishing diversity information for its community (students, staff and Senior Members). These papers, with more detailed figures, can be found here (staff and Senior Members) and here (students).

Strategic change

One of the major objectives in our annual strategy, the College Agenda 2020-21, agreed by College Council and distributed to all Senior Members and staff is to:

Accelerate the programme of action to enhance equality and diversity across the College

Improving our equality and diversity will require some operating spend and additional time from staff and Senior Members alike. However, it is clear that we have not paid as much attention, nor invested as much in supporting these aspects of the College, as we should, notwithstanding the significant increases in welfare support over the past five years. The likely costs are small in the context of our overall budget and the benefits large, so this investment in practical and cultural change is one to which we jointly commit. We will develop and implement an overall “change programme” with external input – on both ethnicity and gender

  • Diversify the Fellowship, other Senior Membership and Staff of the College
  • Improve our communications on Equality and Diversity matters, including induction materials and website, and publish diversity information for the College community (students, staff and Senior Members)
  • Ensure that diversity is actively considered when planning both the content of college events and speakers/panellists to be invited
  • Develop a clear code of conduct for all members of college and ensure processes for raising concerns and addressing complaints are easy to access
  • Commit to working with strong principles of positive action throughout hiring processes at Hughes Hall, including increased transparency on procedures for appointing Senior Members
  • Build on the essentials training undertaken by all staff and Senior Members to improve racial literacy and understanding of key areas of concern
  • Provide additional pastoral care and mentoring to individuals or groups as appropriate
  • Assess and implement a range of approaches to increase inclusion and reduce structural inequality; implement recommended solutions.