About JCU

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at JCU

John Cabot University is a welcoming community that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

With an international student body representing more than 70 countries, we aim to foster an environment where every member of our community feels safe and respected and where people of all backgrounds can thrive and achieve their potential. We take pride in our ongoing commitment to racial diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University and realize that this objective requires a concerted effort from faculty, staff, students, and the Board of Trustees.

John Cabot University aims to support our community in the recognition and respect of our diverse cultural values, beliefs, and perspectives. We equip our students with tools to navigate new cultures and thereby to better understand their own.

An important focus of DEI activities at John Cabot are student clubs, which bring diverse students together to host activities and events to promote equality and multicultural inclusion. The main clubs engaged in DEI-related activities are:

Our Orientation Program for new students aims to instill inclusive values from the beginning of the student experience at JCU, and includes such activities as:

  • BIPOC Students in Rome workshop*
  • Italian 101 workshop*
  • Multicultural workshop*

*Workshops are offered based on staff availability.

We also offer semesterly workshops aiming to expose students to identity and diversity issues, such as the Diversity & Identity Workshop led by the Office of Community Service, Religious Life and Multiculturalism.

In terms of physical services, we provide gender inclusive housing and restrooms, and a meditation garden for prayer and reflection. 


Italians’ attire is typically formal, especially for older generations, and smart casual for younger generations. Though Romans are certainly used to seeing visitors from around the globe and people from different backgrounds, students might attract unwanted attention if dressed in overly casual or off-season items such as flip flops and crop tops and shorts during winter. 

Sizes are different in Italy, and a U.S. Medium would correspond to an Italian Large or XL. 


People who need physical accommodation might find mobility limitations while moving across Rome and other Italian cities, as several streets still present their original designs, which can be often dated back to the Middle Ages. For example, the cobblestone streets that characterize the Trastevere neighborhood and similar layouts in the historic city center might create some mobility issues. However, Italy has been working on improving its inclusion and accessibility policies to ensure the protection of people with disabilities by innovating its urban planning and removing architectural barriers, where possible.

For JCU staff to find suitable accommodation options, students are advised to inform the University regarding specific mobility needs prior to their arrival in Rome.

LGBTQIA+ Communities in Rome

LGBTQIA+ rights have shown some progress throughout the last years, although the community continues to face some challenges. Italy is generally considered liberal, and same-sex unions have been legal since June 2016. During the last decades, attempts to protect LGBTQIA+ people in law have been at the center of the national political debate, and the struggle for legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes is still ongoing. At the social and cultural levels, Italy has made some progress in becoming more inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially among the younger generations. Given the historical context in Italy, gender fluidity and the use of preferred pronouns is uncommon, which is also mirrored in the gendered Italian language. People who identify with a gender different than the one assigned at birth may experience some additional difficulties, especially during bureaucratic or legal procedures.  

JCU strives to create an inclusive environment for its students and provides gender-inclusive housing and restrooms. Students attending JCU also have the possibility to choose a preferred name (lived name) by which to be identified in the classroom and on their JCU ID/badge, among other areas. The Queer Alliance club organizes activities and events open to the entire JCU community, but often catered around the LGBTQIA+ community needs.

Religions and Places of Worship 

Even though Italy is a nominally secular state, its national culture is steeped in Catholicism.  Rome hosts more than 900 churches, whose bells ring throughout the day. Students of all faith backgrounds, from Orthodox and Protestant Christian to Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh, can find places of worship, pastoral support and community.  

For example, Rome hosts one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, with the Jewish ghetto* and the Great Synagogue of Rome located across the river from the Frohring Campus. Moreover, the northern part of the city hosts the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy and the Great Mosque of Rome, which is the largest mosque in Europe.  

Hua Yi Si is the biggest Chinese Buddhist temple in Europe and is located in the eastern part of the capital. The temple was built thanks to the donations of the growing Chinese community in Rome and its province. 

Moreover, Italy hosts the second largest Sikh community in Europe, after the United Kingdom. Sikh people can gather at the two Gurdwara, the main social and spiritual aggregation centers of the community, situated in the neighborhoods of Romanina and Massimina.

The Interfaith Alliance is a community of students interested in questions of religious meaning and identity, and interfaith dialogue in a pluralist world. The club aims to deepen JCU’s rich multicultural orientation, while addressing the challenges and opportunities arising out of religious diversity.

For additional information on how to get connected with a specific religious community, please contact [email protected].

*Please note that the word ghetto is used as this is the preferred designation by the local Jewish community.  

Dietary Restrictions  

As part of the culture, Italians highly value good-quality food and taking the time to have a meal in the company of others. Students should not encounter issues with dietary restrictions. Italy offers a great deal of dietary options, with open-air markets, supermarkets and restaurants providing vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free foods. 

Across Rome, students can find places of reference for multicultural and religious communities that live in or visit the city. Mercato Esquilino is a local market that sells halal meat and a variety of products from all over the world. The Piazza Vittorio area is known for the variety of ethnic restaurants. The Jewish Ghetto, located close to the JCU campuses, hosts a variety of kosher restaurants.

The Tiber Cafe, located in the Frohring Campus, strives to offer a variety of options and accommodate students with dietary restrictions. All foods in the Cafe are labeled for allergens, and staff is at hand for further inquiries. 

Racial and Ethnic Diversity

The majority of people of color in Italy have immigrated from other countries in pursuit of improved life opportunities. The number of native-born Italians from various racial or ethnic backgrounds, or those of second or third generation migrant descent, has been on the rise in recent years. Similar to the United States, immigration is a topic of significant debate and can sometimes lead to impassioned discussions among Italians. Nevertheless, Rome is evolving into a multicultural city that draws people from various corners of the world. 

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