Concerns Raised by UoM’s Racism Reporting Process

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Students have expressed concern over the University of Manchester’s racism reporting process.

Several current students and a recent graduate spoke to La Mancunion about their experiences, strongly criticizing the process and saying it sounded like a “damage control exercise” for the University.

The university has been accused of making students of color feel like an ‘afterthought’ with a complex complaints process that can be difficult for them to navigate.

Aisha * and Halima * complained when a student allegedly launched a “racist” rant at a conference on Islamophobia.

They said La Mancunion They were extremely concerned about the university’s response, Aisha believing that the university management was more concerned with the reputation of the institution than with the substance of the complaint.

Aisha explained that she found the complaints process difficult to go through, describing it as “vague”, “inaccessible and” poorly advertised. ”

Halima felt dissatisfied with the outcome of the reporting process as she felt that “nothing would be done”. Abdullah *, another student, echoed this sentiment, questioning the university’s sincerity and saying the process looked like “damage control”.

The University of Manchester insists it takes racism on campus very seriously and has underlined its commitment to diversity and inclusion within its Strategies and annual strategy reports.

The university points to its Reporting and Support Platform – a “clear and comprehensive” support website outlining ways in which students can report incidents.

There have been 22 ethnicity-related student complaints since the Reporting and Support platform launched, with 11 anonymous reports and 11 students requesting to speak to a counselor. However, it is difficult to determine how many incidents go unreported.

Students also raised concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the total number of racist incidents on campus, as no public figures are currently available.

Abbie *, a recent University of Manchester graduate, questioned the institution’s authenticity in its fight against racism on campus. She said she personally believes that “people of color are an afterthought” in almost every facet of the university, from curriculum to priority.

The reporting process seemed informal and unclear to her, and she believes it contradicts the image of inclusion and diversity that the University of Manchester has been championing for several years now.

The main channels available to students for reporting incidents of racist harassment are either the ‘report and help’ system, an online service for students to submit anonymous complaints or, in more serious cases, to submit complaints. be referred to a counselor who will help them. Or students can go directly to their school or faculty and report the incident to senior staff who in turn will investigate the incident in question and try to find the most appropriate course of action.

However, while the ‘report and support’ website reports different forms of harassment a Freedom of information survey speak Guardian this revealed that the University of Manchester does not actually register racist incidents as a distinct form of harassment.

In recent months, reports such as “Tackling Racial Harassment: Contested Universities”, produced by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, exposed and analyzed the shortcomings of many universities in their management of racist incidents.

Goldsmiths was the most recent university in the spotlight. It was revealed that even with a student body of 45% ethnic minorities, people of color still regularly faced racist harassment that the administration did not adequately address.

Sara Khan, Liberation and Access Officer at Manchester Students Union, said: “Once again, universities are failing to tackle the roots of racial harassment. This is probably because they think it hurts them to recognize that they are inherently, historically racist, or perhaps institutions. [they] really don’t understand that they are.

“The racial harassment complaint process on our campus does indeed need to be improved, and I have no doubt that the vast majority of incidents go unreported, but we need to do something about the racism that students face in their lives. daily, which is part of the way our universities are built and structured. Otherwise, the problem will never go away.

A spokesperson for the University of Manchester said: “We take the issue of racism on campus very seriously. We work closely with our staff, students, the student union and all parties concerned to attempt to address all forms of harassment and hate crime.

“We want all the communities of the University to feel that they are part of our institution and that all their concerns are listened to and addressed.

“Our policies are regularly reviewed and updated and we will continue to listen to feedback from staff and students on how we can improve them. The last thing we want is for these procedures to alienate staff and students.

“We have made great strides recently, but we recognize that there is always more to do and we will always hold ourselves to the highest standards.

“We also strongly encourage everyone in our community to report any harassment and hate crimes both online and in person. To change culture, we need a holistic community approach.

Manchester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK with a high proportion of BAME and international students.

*All students have been made anonymous.



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