Cambridge Vice-Chancellor pledges to step up efforts to tackle racial harassment

Cambridge: University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope joined in the call for universities to step up actions to safeguard staff and student welfare in the wake of a national report that showed one in five minority ethnic students had been subjected to racial harassment.
The Vice-Chancellor said: “There is no place for racism or racial harassment of any kind at Collegiate Cambridge.

“We are determined to nurture the right culture at Cambridge, and will intensify efforts to equip staff and students with the confidence to talk about race, and identify and challenge racism whenever they encounter it.

“We will ensure all members of our community can access help when they need it, and know decisive action will be taken when behaviour falls short of what we expect.

“Collegiate Cambridge is becoming increasingly diverse, with more than 25% of our student community drawn from BAME backgrounds. We have introduced decisive measures to promote and support diversity across our staff and student community.

“But we must build on these to remain a place where all members of our community can thrive and feel safe, and supported to do their best work.

“We will continue to work closely with students and staff on how we can enhance our efforts to make Cambridge truly inclusive.”

This follows the publication yesterday of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report Tackling racial harassment: universities challenged, which found students who experienced racial harassment were left feeling angry, upset, depressed, anxious and vulnerable with 8% expressing suicidal thoughts.

In response to the report, University of Cambridge Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations Professor Eilís Ferran described the ‘the urgent need to address the issues university staff and students are facing’.

Last academic year, the University of Cambridge launched a race equality action plan as part of its Race Equality Charter application that commits universities to improving the representation, progression and success of BAME staff and students.