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Racial harassment is alive

“Racial harassment is a common occurrence for many students and staff in British universities” says Pavita Cooper, Commissioner Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The EHRC launched inquiry into racial harassment in publicly funded universities in Britain to examine staff and students’ experiences of racial harassment and the effect they might have on their education, career and wellbeing.

The EHRC findings are eye opener as what happens in one setting could very well be happening in other areas as people are not blind to colour in a colour conscious society.

The enquiry report finds that around a quarter of students from an ethnic minority background (24%), and 9% of White students, said they had experienced racial harassment since starting their course. This equates to 13% of all students.

About 20% of students had been physically attacked and 56% of students who had been racially harassed had experienced racist name-calling, insults and jokes.

Over half of staff who responded described incidents of being ignored or excluded because of their race. More than a quarter said they experienced racist name-calling, insults and jokes. Much of this harassment took place in office environments, frequently in plain sight of their colleagues.

International students told the enquiry about feeling unwelcome, isolated and vulnerable.

Students who experienced racial harassment said they were left feeling angry, upset, depressed, anxious and vulnerable; 8% said they had felt suicidal. Staff reported experiencing similar impacts.

The report suggests some universities are reluctant to admit the true scale of the problem for fear of putting off potential students and losing their fees.

Universities are overconfident in their complaint handling processes, finds the report.

Like racism, racial harassment is not really admitted and lost its profile since it has been cleverly subsumed under ‘hate crime’ many years ago. Government funded hate crime industry is thriving though mostly ineffective.

The main source of legal protection from racial harassment for university staff and students is the Equality Act 2010. There are limits to the protection the Equality Act 2010 provides, particularly regarding harassment of staff or students by third parties, including for student-on-student and student-on-staff harassment. 23/10/2019 category: news