CW: discussion of racism
EXCLUSIVE: Racist vandalism was reported at the Law School in December, prompting students to criticise the University of Exeter’s “clueless” response to racism on campus. Guild Officers have stated they were “disappointed” at being “not informed.”
The University has confirmed that a poster was “deliberately damaged” in an act of “racially motivated vandalism.” They also stated that the internal investigation had concluded without being able to identify the perpetrators. The University’s “Speak Out” webpage claims that they “have a zero tolerance approach to hate crime.”
Exeposé have obtained a copy of the email sent out on 6 December to the Law School cohort from Professor Richard Moorhead, which described “an incident of racist vandalism in the School.”
We are disappointed that we were not informed of this sooner, particularly so that we could offer support to any of our students who may have been affectedStudents’ Guild Full-Time Officers
The email urged students to “be vigilant, and to report any concerns you might have if you feel able. We can show we are better than this by taking such matters seriously, challenging poor behaviour where we see it, and learning from each other.”
Professor Moorehead continued about being aware of “everyday racism”, and urged students to use the SpeakOut reporting tool.
The Full-Time Officers at the Students’ Guild said they were “not informed” of the incident or any followup.
A joint statement from the Officers said: “This is an incident which we absolutely do not tolerate; actions like this are completely unacceptable on our campuses, let alone in society.
Whilst we were not initially aware of this incident, we are now talking to our colleagues in the Law School, and we will work alongside them to ensure that appropriate action is taken.
We are disappointed that we were not informed of this sooner, particularly so that we could offer support to any of our students who may have been affected.
The Officers concluded “As this incident did not take place in a Guild space or during Guild activity, we will not be leading on investigation or disciplinary process, however we are keen to support on this issue, as well as continuing to work to prevent incidents like this happening again. We would finally like to thank Exepose for raising this issue, one which should be a major discussion point on campus.”
The University is committed to eradicating any instances of discrimination and harassment that may ariseUniversity of Exeter spokesperson
When asked to comment, a University spokesperson said, “We can confirm that we received a report of an incident of suspected racially-motivated vandalism in December.”
“The incident was immediately investigated, and a message was conveyed to students and staff to offer a reminder of the processes by which they can report any concerns they may have regarding racist, sexist or bigoted behaviour.
“The University is committed to eradicating any instances of discrimination and harassment that may arise, and continues to work to ensure an open, diverse and safe community for all our students, staff and visitors.”
A BAME student, who preferred to remain anonymous, criticised “the fact that students chose to vandalise public parts of campus with racist intentions”.
They continued “Exeter Uni seems to give students of colour the impression, time and time again, that we are just a statistic to them rather than human beings.
“It shows a basic lack of concern when it comes to the problems of students of colour, and an unwillingness to admit wrongdoing and take the trouble to check policies relating to anti racism on campus. Most of the time, it seems the University is unable to deal with it simply because they are utterly clueless as to how racism should be tackled.”
Exeter Uni seems to give students of colour the impression, time and time again, that we are just a statistic to them rather than human beingsAnonymous BAME Student
The University of Exeter has previously been criticised for a series of racist incidents on campus.
After incidents in 2016 and 2017, Exeter’s Bracton Law Society came under scrutiny in March 2018 as a Whatsapp group containing racist abuse was discovered, leading the University to appoint a Provost Commission, and the society’s subsequent disbanding.
In November 2019, the University reported the Facebook page ‘Exehonestly’ to the Devon & Cornwall Police’s Hate Crimes Unit after Nazi propaganda was posted on the anonymous confessions page. The page has since been shut down by the administrators.
Editor: Harry Caton