The most recent issue published by bathimpact featured the topic of racism at the University. We received feedback from individuals coming forward to speak about what they had experienced and the current approach the University environment has towards racism.
The University has also recently responded to a FOI (freedom on information) request on the topic of racist incidents being reported. The request that was sent in was: “The number of racist incidents reported by students to the university over the past three academic years broken down by ethnicity.” To which the university has confirmed that there were no racist incidents reported.
This has been disheartening to see considering the surprising statistics that were received and published by bathimpact, last month. There appears to be two main issues impeding handling this issue effectively. Firstly, students do not feel informed on what constitutes a racism incident and secondly, where it can be reported.
The University has a zero tolerance policy towards racism outlined in its dignity and respect policy. “We strive to provide an environment where everyone feels valued and welcomed. We have demonstrated our commitment to racial equality through a number of initiatives to promote equality between people from different ethnic groups and raise awareness of good practice in employment, teaching and learning, leisure, and other services provided by this University.”
While these stances made by the University are acknowledged. It is should also expected that such an established institution should have such policies in place. It would be appalling if there was anything less than a full commitment to equality. Such strong statements made by the institution neglect to address the casual and everyday racism experienced by students, where the real problem lies.
There also appears to be a breakdown in the ability for students to report incidents and to have them effectively dealt with. This is an issue that must be looked into further both by the Students’ Union and the University for the upcoming year, considering the University is actively pursuing international students.
Unfortunately, this is an incredibly difficult and complex issue and an uphill battle. People remain silent on their experiences with racism far too much, however we hope and encourage individuals to report incidents online here.