The 2020 anti-racist statement from the Erasmus university was met with a lot of criticism from students. They mentioned a lack of representation at the university, racist comments by professors, and disappointing responses to complaints. These reactions on the statement can be understood through the scientific exclusion of people of colour, and the university’s emphasis on diversity. In order to rectify this I asked how students of colour experience racism at the Erasmus university Rotterdam. I chose a phenomenological study method to centralise their experiences, combining it with a critical race approach to remain aware of societal consequences of race and racism throughout the research process. In accordance with critical race I did not only describe these experiences but also add to achieving social justice by asking participants what they need from the university. From the in-depth interviews, three themes were uncovered; the daily reality of students experiences regarding racism, the use of safe spaces and the false diversity of the university. In conclusion students experience racism at all levels of the university, use safe spaces as a way to ‘deal’ with their racist experiences and find the diversity policy of the EUR inadequate to reach real diversity and inclusion. I ultimately interviewed only female students of colour and one recommendation is thus that the scope of the study could be expanded to include experiences of people of colour at different intersections. Based on the results of my study, I also recommend further research into safe spaces and decolonising universities in the Netherlands.

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Bonnie French, Willem Schinkel
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Renfurm, A. (2021, August 16). Are Erasmian values anti-racist values? A phenomenological critical race study in the racist experiences of students of colour. Sociology. Retrieved from