Explore Themes

2012 to the present day 2012-2022

(page 1 of 3)

Written by the Students Association Digital Exhibition project team

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OU Pride (formally known as PLEXUS) at a Pride march.
Image : OU Pride at a Pride March
Date: 2017
OU Students Association Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students Group logo.
Image : OUSA BAME Group Logo
Date: 2022
Video: OUSA Individual Representation Service promotional video
Duration: 00:02:00
Date: 2021

Growing our student support offering

Open University students are at the heart of everything the Association does, and since 2012 they have endeavoured to ensure they are offering the most relevant and useful support to as many students as possible, with three developments in particular standing out.

Foundation of OU Pride/PLEXUS 

What is now known as OU Pride, was born as PLEXUS in August 2016 to provide better representation for OU students identifying as LGBT+. PLEXUS was founded to ensure that students from this community had a voice in various spheres at the University and Students Association including Equality, Diversity and Inclusion meetings and Senate Reference Group. In January 2017, the Group became officially affiliated with the Students Association and it has been an integral part of the Association ever since. 

The name PLEXUS stood for Pride, Learning, Equality, no eXcuses, Unity and Safety and it also was meant to denote that the Group was like the core of a human body with veins, nerves and arteries. Alongside the name came a beautifully colourful logo showing unity among the members of the Group:  

“The logo was a representation of people coming together in unity. The colours chosen demonstrated the idea of not being labelled and being an individual.”  

Alexander Nickisson 

Campaigns Officer, OU Pride  


The committee in term for 2016-18 set about making important advances in inclusivity at the University. Among other things, notable achievements were increasing awareness of preferred pronouns, ensuring inclusive language was used, providing intersectionality training to the Association’s Student Leadership Team and, arguably the most important thing, making sure that students have a safe and welcoming group to support them. 


“PLEXUS wasn’t just about attending Pride events, but actual hard work to support the student and even staff communities by providing education, videos, discussions, newsletters and a sense of community.” 

Graham Rimmer 

Co-founder, OU Pride 


Foundation of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students Group

In 2020 the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Student Group was launched to create a supportive student community, helpful resources and advocacy to Open University students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and their allies. The Group, which provides space for students to connect, elected its first formal Committee in 2021. This Committee has already embarked on a mission to improve its support offering so that it can ensure students are provided with the best access to news, events and activities.

The Individual Representation Service  

The Individual Representation Service launched at the Students Association in 2021 and has been a fundamentally important addition to the support services already offered to OU students. This service has been designed as part of the Student Advice and Representation Hub and serves to assist students who are subjects of complaints over academic misconduct. When students face these serious allegations, it can be an incredibly worrying, stressful and isolating experience. The staff at the Association who work as Student Advisors are now on hand to guide students through this difficult situation and provide the support needed to navigate through these often-complex procedures.  

The Individual Representation Service provides students with independent, free and confidential advice and support with their case. The service is completely independent from the University allowing the Association to focus all its support on the student involved. As well as providing advice throughout the case, the service can also advocate on behalf of the student.  

The pilot has proved to be a much needed and worthwhile service, so much so that the current team of one student advisor has been expanded to two, so that the team are able to support even more students who need assistance. The Association looks forward to providing advice and support to even more students during the complex process of academic misconduct.

2012 to the present day 2012-2022 (page 1 of 3)