Racist Bullying Could Be Responsible For Black Students Receiving Lower Grades, UK Equalities Commission Says
Racist bullying could be responsible for black students receiving lower grades, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has said as it launches an inquiry into racial harassment at universities.
The UK’s equalities body said that despite more students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds taking up places at university in recent years, they are graduating with worse degrees than their white peers. Black students are also more likely to drop out of university than their classmates.
The EHRC said there is a link between “being made to feel unwelcome and attainment” which may contribute to the “lower qualifications achieved by ethnic minority students despite more entering higher education”.
It launched the inquiry after both academic staff and students raised concerns about the levels of racial aggression on campus.
“Universities and representative bodies have raised concerns that racial harassment is affecting both staff and students at British universities, which may impact on staff members’ decision to remain with their employers,” the EHRC said.
“Some student representatives have also suggested that universities are brushing incidents under the carpet unless they go viral on social media.”
Earlier this year, a first year law student at Nottingham Trent University pleaded guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment after racist chants that left a black woman so scared that she moved out of the halls of residence.
Rufaro Chisango, a fellow first year student at the university, posted a minute-long video on Twitter which included male voices chanting “we hate the blacks” and “blacks and whites will never be together” outside her bedroom door.
The university was accused of failing to act swiftly when the racist jeers were first reported, but Miss Chisango filmed the incident and it went viral.
David Isaac, chairman of the EHRC, said: “Racial harassment of any kind is abhorrent, divisive and entirely unacceptable.
“There’s no place for it in society and the level that we have seen occurring within universities is particularly concerning, especially when it has a detrimental impact on student attainment and leaves staff feeling ridiculed or undermined.
“Everyone must have the opportunity to reach their potential through education. Universities must have systems in place to stop racial harassment being a stumbling block to educational achievement and ensure that victims can obtain redress.”
The commission will publish its findings and recommendations by autumn 2019.