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Inquiry launched into racism at UK universities

RACIAL HARASSMENT: Students and staff are being invited to share their accounts of racism at university (Image: Andre Hunter)

AN INQUIRY has been launched into racial harassment at UK universities today.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has begun investigating the rate of racial harassment at universities in the UK after research revealed that significant numbers of ethnic minority students have been subjected to racial harassment.

The inquiry will examine how easy and effective existing routes for reporting racial harassment in higher education institutions are for members, staff and students in England, Scotland and Wales.

In a statement, the EHRC revealed why it is launching an inquiry into racial harassment within higher education.

It said: “Research suggests significant numbers of ethnic minority students are victims of racial harassment, and many are very anxious about the issue. Ethnic minority staff are also more likely to say they experience harassment working in universities than their white peers.

“We want to better understand the experiences of staff and students who experience racial harassment and how effectively they can seek redress. We think this is an important part of feeling able to pursue studies and careers in higher education.

“Understanding this is important due to the link between race and achievement or participation in higher education.”

This year, several high profile incidents of racism at UK universities made the headlines.

A black female student at the University of Nottingham Trent filmed students shouting racist chants outside her dorm room in March. The footage was viewed thousands of times on social media and resulted in two men being arrested in relation to the incident. One of the men was fined £200 and ordered to pay £500 compensation.

In May, several students at Exeter University were expelled after racist comments posted in a WhatsApp group went viral.

According to The Independent, the number of racist incidents in universities has risen more than 60 per cent.

One student, Madeline Charles, shared her experience of racist abuse at university with The Voice. She said a white male student banged his fist on her car window and said: “All you black people have a chip on your shoulder”.

The EHRC is interested in hearing from staff and students who have experienced, witness or intervened in an incident of racial harassment.

The closing date for submissions to the inquiry is 11.59pm on Friday February 15.

To take part in the survey, click here.

Have you been subjected to racist abuse at university? We want to hear from you.

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