University of Essex

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University coat of arms
The University of Essex, founded 1963, is a university based in Wivenhoe Park, near Colchester, Essex.

Ken Plummer taught at the University for many years, and Mary McIntosh and Jeffrey Weeks also worked at the University.

In 2021 a report by barrister Akua Reindorf concluded that the University had breached the rights to freedom of expression of Professor Jo Phoenix (Open University) and Professor Rosa Freedman (University of Reading) because of preconceptions about their views on trans rights and gender identity. Reindorf found that the university had adopted policies which reflect “the law as Stonewall would prefer it to be, rather than the law as it is”, and created a “culture of fear”. A spokeswoman from Stonewall defended their policies as being “based on guidance provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission“ and Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley said “Stonewall was not involved in any discussions with Essex University about the cancellation of academic talks.” It is believed that a number of companies and organisations resigned from the Stonewall Diversity Champions scheme following the report, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission.[1] [2]

LGBT societies

There was a gaysoc at Essex University which called itself a GLF group in the 1970s.[3] [4].

Notable alumni


  1. The University was in breach of its statutory duty to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for visiting speakers (s.43 of the Education Act (No. 2) 1986 s.43(1)), its own Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom policy, its regulatory obligations, its duties under charity law and potentially the Public Sector Equality Duty.
  2. University of Essex apologises to professor over trans-rights cancellation BBC 19 May 2021
  3. Gay News, Issue 1
  4. 'My diary tells me that during my first week on campus (Autumn 1977), I went to a GaySoc party. For my non-Brit readers, GaySocs were what every gay/lesbian university group was called at the time. They organized both social and political events, the ratio between the two depending on the tone and politics of the group’s leaders at the time. I realized that our group had a good mix of both. Essex GaySoc made a point of also calling itself The Gay Liberation Society'