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Tackling racial harassment in higher education

24 Nov 2020 | Advance HE Advance HE welcomes UUK’s guidance document published today

Gary Loke, Advance HE Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery, said, “We welcome ‘Tackling racial harassment in higher education as an important step in supporting the sector in its work to address racial harassment that persists in higher education communities. We encourage the sector to apply the five themes which the guidance highlights alongside the recommendations for change.

“Sadly, the evidence of racial harassment is clear: the EHRC report ‘Tackling racial harassment: Universities challenged’ revealed 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; over 50% of the HE staff who responded to the EHRC ‘described incidents of being ignored or excluded because of their race’; more than 25% of those surveyed told the EHRC ‘they experienced racist name-calling, insults and jokes'.

“2020, hallmarked by the pandemic, has highlighted that the sector has the capability and the will for fast and massive change. Rapid and profound transformation must also be applied to tackling racism, especially in the context of Black Lives Matter, which has renewed the imperative for sustained change. The shocking experiences of students and colleagues who have been victims of racial harassment is a wake-up call for all to use that ‘capability and will’ to drive out racism, inequality and injustice in all its forms. This guidance will make a significant contribution in shaping that effort.”

Advance HE worked with UUK to produce the guidance, engaging BAME staff across the sector to review the draft and offer feedback, ensuring the guidance reflected the lived experience of BAME staff. Advance HE was part of the Advisory Board to offer good practice and perspectives from the Race Equality Charter in dealing with racial harassment. The UUK guidance complements a significant project Advance HE has run in Scotland, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, to support the sector to meet the recommendations in the EHRC’s inquiry report: Tackling racism on campus: Raising awareness and creating the conditions for confident conversations.

This week, Advance HE is launching the first strand of its EDI strategic theme 20-21 – Tackling structural race inequality in HE, to support institutions to understand and address the structural race inequality in all aspects of higher education.

Find out more about a range of work that Advance HE offers to support Race Equality and tackling racism and racial inequality with institutions and addressing bullying and harassment.



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