Petition to tackle Racism and Diversity Issues at Durham gains over 3,000 signatures

It was created after a video of a Durham student espousing hate surfaced online

A petition  outlining a number of demands to end racism and diversity issues at Durham University has circulated around social media gaining over 3,000 signatures.

Ewan Bowler, a history student who started the petition, wrote that:

“Publishing a #blackouttuesday post in response to the George Floyd tragedy means nothing if they refuse to acknowledge and work on the racist issues within the University.”

The petition references a Guardian article claiming that there were only 3 incidents of racism in the last five years (up to July 2019), claiming that the real figure is far greater as a result of unreported incidents. To reconcile this, the petition calls for the university to actively encourage students to report incidents of racism. The petition also highlights the lack of diversity at Durham, with only 1% of students identifying from Black Caribbean and African backgrounds, 3% below the national average.

The petition then criticises the ineffectiveness of the University Hate Crime Project. Created in October 2019 to document and tackle racial incidents, 9 months later they are yet to publish any details or information about the impact of the program on hate incidents in Durham.

The petition ends by referencing the “racial abuse” of Seun Twins, President elect of the SU on Overheard at Durham, a now suspended unofficial facebook group for Durham students, after inflammatory screenshots were leaked from her private Instagram account. Additionally, the petition calls for the “the University should adopt a true zero-tolerance attitude towards racial hate. A full investigation should be launched into every report. Anyone found beyond reasonable doubt to be expressing racial hatred should be permanently expelled from the University.”

The petition comes after a video of a Durham student espousing ostensibly racist comments emerged online. The student is being “investigated” by the university.

Sign the petition here.

Access the univeristy’s Hate Crime Project here.