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University receives share of £1.8 million to tackle hate crime and online harassment

University receives share of £1.8 million to tackle hate crime and online harassment Banner Image

UCLan aims to be model of good practice in the sector and region

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is one of 45 universities and colleges in England to have been awarded a share of £1.8 million from the Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE) to improve responses to Hate Crime and Online Harassment (HCOH) on campus.

UCLan’s award from HEFCE totals £50,000 with an additional £50,000 provided by the University via matched, in-kind support.

The funding will enable the University to coordinate a year-long programme of student engagement to understand the issues relating to HCOH. In particular the project will:

  • Research barriers to, and increase confidence in, reporting hate crime and harassment

  • Develop an understanding of cyber and digital harassment and its impacts on students

  • Identify opportunities for social and community cohesion on campus

  • Inform a consciousness raising campaign

  • Inform the development of a training plan for staff and students

The University and Students’ Union have an extremely positive working relationship and this project will broaden and embed that partnership working to address the many aspects of hate crime.

The University will collaborate with a variety of partners on the project including the Students’ Union and Lancashire Police. Indeed the initiative has been developed with students, who will play pivotal roles in the project’s delivery. The Students’ Union already manage some of this work through its Hate Crime Reporting Centre.

Outcomes and best practice identified will be shared with other higher education institutions through existing networks.

Commenting on the aims of the project Linda Tompkins, UCLan’s Equality, Diversity and Communities Manager, said:

 “We will review existing studies and undertake active research into the barriers preventing students’ reporting and accessing support.

“Our aim is to be a model of good practice in the sector and region. The University and Students’ Union have an extremely positive working relationship and this project will broaden and embed that partnership working to address the many aspects of hate crime.”

Sana Iqbal, Students’ Union President added:  “Hate crimes and related incidents can have a massive impact on a student’s experience at university.  Supporting this project and National Hate Crime Awareness Week is our way of making sure students feel empowered to report these crimes, no matter what.”

Hate crime of any kind has no place in our society or on our campuses, and we expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of harassment, whether it takes place online or in person.

The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, said: “Hate crime of any kind has no place in our society or on our campuses, and we expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of harassment, whether it takes place online or in person.

“I am pleased to see HEFCE supporting the important work of the Universities UK Taskforce, and I am hugely encouraged to see universities working closely with students to develop different approaches to tackling this important issue.”

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are making progress in tackling the issues of hate crime and online harassment on campus, but there is more to be done.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months.”

Chris Theobald | 16 October 2017