Many of us will, by now, have seen the video footage apparently capturing a shocking race hate incident occurred at Nottingham Trent University last week. We are reluctant to offer any commentary on the allegations themselves as arrests have been made and investigations remain ongoing.
Incident at Nottingham Trent University
However, the female student has explained that she spoke to university accommodation staff shortly after the incident. She was told that the matter would be dealt with on the following Tuesday morning. By Wednesday evening she had still heard nothing.
The video entered the public domain following her frustration at what she perceived as the university’s inaction. The student posted her video on her Twitter account. The video went viral immediately and by late yesterday, had been shared over 33,000 times. The story can be found here.
It may be that Nottingham Trent University took action as a result of the publicity being generated. Those accused have now been suspended from the university, arrested and interviewed by police. The university is now working with the female student to resolve her complaint and provide support.
Many on social media have been critical of the university’s slow response to the female’s initial complaint. She was left for nearly 48 hours with the alleged perpetrators still living or studying near to her. The university has responded and said that the accommodation providers were slow to inform the university, which was the reason for their delayed action.
Duty on universities to protect against discrimination
Universities have a duty to take clear, decisive action to stamp out hate crime within their institutions. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for individuals to be discriminated against based on their protected characteristics, which include age, gender, sexual orientation and race. These rights are set out within the published Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy of Nottingham Trent University. However, this policy is only fit for purpose if the University has clear channels of communication in place with accommodation staff, so that if hate crime is reported action is taken immediately.
Lessons will no doubt be learnt from this. All universities will want to look at this incident and realise that discrimination unfortunately remains a live issue. It is key that students who are the victim of hate crime know who they can turn to and that their complaint will be dealt with immediately. There is no point in having equality and diversity policies and complaints procedures in place, if twitter ends up being the only way that your voice can be heard.
Contact an education law solicitor about discrimination
It is perhaps hard to believe that such an incident would take place in 2018. We would like to think that this kind of incident will not be repeated. If, however, you are unfortunate enough to be subjected to discrimination in any form at university then please do contact us for some initial fee advice about how best to take any complaint forward.
Education law solicitor Clare Roberts can be contacted on 0115 9599550. Alternatively you can use the contact form below.