Asian students at UCL are being bullied because of coronavirus outbreak

A survey of 80 students has shown this


Asian students have admitted to facing more racism, bullying and discrimination since the wake of the coronavirus threat, The London Tab can reveal.

The London Tab conducted an open survey of students, to which 90 students responded in less than 24 hours. The students shared their experiences of increased bullying and discrimination at university since the coronavirus outbreak.

One student surveyed told The London Tab: "People would avoid speaking or sitting next to me because I am Asian, despite having been born in the UK. Some even explicitly comment with their friends about the virus and potential exposure due to Asian students attending at university."

We found that 30 per cent of the respondents interviewed within the 24 hour time-frame have felt discriminated at some point during the last couple of weeks as a consequence of the contagious Coronavirus that originated from the city of Wuhan, in China.

15 respondents admitted to feeling they were the subject of bullying at university, due to their race.

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"One of the consultants at the medical school said ‘these Chinese people eat snakes and bats and end up destroying their whole country’", one student said.

Another told The London Tab: "I sneezed once (into my elbow) in the Cruciform and three of the five people at my table got up and went to another table after giving me dirty looks."

We had some positive testimonies, which thankfully attest to the lack of a general trend of discrimination at UCL, assuring us that these cases have been fortunately in minority so far: "I have never experienced discrimination in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. I am Chinese and have not had even the slightest racial abuse in the last few weeks.

"My lecturer joked about it but not in a racist way. I generally feel that most people are respectful. There is definitely some anti-communist party sentiment but I have not felt any anti-Chinese sentiment."

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Regardless of positive experiences, there remains an unnecessary panic which disproportionately affects Asian students. Nowhere are these experiences more visible than on the uni confessions page which, as one anonymous submission wrote: "I was not born in China, but my ethnicity is Chinese and I don't find the jokes about the coronavirus particularly funny? It's pretty scary to me that when I walk into UCL, people will start actively avoiding me just based on how I look or I'll receive racist comments."

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The survey will remain open, so if you have been a victim of discrimination and bullying please feel free to still submit your testimonies.

A UCL spokesperson said: "Discrimination or bullying of any kind is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated at UCL: we are committed to ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students and staff.

"Should any student feel they have been subjected to such behaviour, we would encourage them to speak a tutor, a member of UCL Student Support and Wellbeing Team, or use our online ‘Report + Support’ tool, which has an anonymous reporting function.

"Students who are living in UCL-managed accommodation have additional support from a team of Wardens and Student Residence Advisers.”

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