Whilst Warwick University consistently ranks highly in terms of education, it seems that there is a deeper problem at the institute. Recently, a series of racist incidents on campus has sparked a debate among the students. Furthermore, there is now a petition urging university staff to step up and show some support.
The most recent incident actually made headlines, when a student found the ‘n-word’ written on some bananas in the shared kitchen of her halls. A tweet about this caught the attention of many people on social media, and the student quickly gained the support of both students and strangers. As you might imagine, many people were outraged by this blatant act of racism and hatred.
Sadly, this is not the first time that students have encountered racism at the university. There have been quite a few serious events in the past, including students ‘blacking up’ for parties and playing the theme from Django Unchained at a charity slave auction.
In 2013, volunteer students at the university started the Anti-Racism Society so that victims of racial abuse would have some on-campus support. The society holds movie nights and events as well as offering people the chance to talk about their experiences of racism.
While the society can help in some areas, students are now questioning what the university officials are doing about this issue. Co-president of the society, Mems Ayinla, said that part of the reason the students felt that they had to start the society was because of the university’s lack of response to the matter.
“An honest conversation is needed about how the university may be failing ethnic-minority students. It’s not our responsibility to be cleaning up the mess of bigots,” she explained to Buzzfeed. “We want to focus on events, and work out ways to make things better for students of colour at Warwick… but we’re always being bogged down and side-tracked by racist issues.”
Now, the student body have started a petition asking that the university take a zero-tolerance policy on racism. It also states that the staff have a duty to develop the curriculum, which the students believe is Eurocentric.
“It’s about getting the university to acknowledge the casual racism that goes on on campus. But, most importantly, it’s about having a clear procedure for what happens if a student is racially abused,” said Mems.