More than half of students at UK universities have witnessed racism during their studies, a new survey suggests.
The Student Room, an online forum, carried out the research. It found that almost a third have personally experienced racism on campus. One in 10 have encountered racist incidents daily.
Verbal abuse, off-hand or “casually” racist comments and exclusion from social events are the most common experiences of university. The study was of more than 1,000 students.
In one case, a student said their friend was attacked in a nightclub by a group after having already been subjected to racist slurs.
On the culture at the university, the student added: “Lots of people black up for fancy dress. An African student has racist jokes made about them having Aids.”
Another student said they had African songs sung at them when they entered the room. – and they had been subjected to comments that questioned black people’s intelligence.
Two 18-year-old males were arrested in March after a Nottingham Trent University student posted video footage of racist chants outside her bedroom door in her student halls.
Members of a student law society were also suspended by the University of Exeter after WhatsApp conversations where they allegedly made racist comments were shared online.
Recently, Sheffield Hallam University launched an investigation after a rotten banana was reportedly thrown at a black graduate student during an ice hockey match.
However, the poll reveals that more than half of students who witnessed racism or personally experienced it did nothing about it.
“Making fun of accents [is very common],” a student commented. “One person said about my long braids, ‘I wish I had hair like yours so I could sit at home and smoke weed all day’.”
Almost three in five students believe their university could do more to prevent racism on campus, the survey suggests.
Mhairi Underwood, community manager at The Student Room, said: “In 2018, it’s sad to see the proliferation of racism young people experience on a regular basis.
“The impact these instances can have on students are serious, especially while also navigating the often stressful waters of university life”.