Warwick University ‘racist banana incident’ leads to national student survey on racism

Almost 1,500 people sign petition saying Warwick 'must be held accountable for racism within its walls'

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Friday 08 April 2016 14:32
Warwick University, pictured, says it 'abhors any form of racism, harassment, and discrimination'
Warwick University, pictured, says it 'abhors any form of racism, harassment, and discrimination'

Student newspapers from across the UK have joined together to launch a national survey in order to gather information into on-campus racism after an alleged incident at Warwick University escalated on Twitter this week.

Launched by Warwick student newspaper, the Boar, the survey aims to record students’ experiences of racism in “a collaborative attempt” to gauge the frequency and extent of such incidents on campuses nationwide.

The survey also hopes to gain an insight into how they were dealt with by university management and students’ unions.

The investigation has been launched in response to a tweet which surfaced on Tuesday from Warwick biomedical science student, 19-year-old Faramade Ifaturoti, who posted an image of a bunch of bananas which had two offensive terms scrawled on them in black marker.

Accompanying the image, she wrote: “Just entered the kitchen and look at what one of my flatmates has [allegedly] done. I am extremely disgusted.”

The tweet was shared thousands of times, after which the university said it would be investigating the incident “as a matter of urgency.” Shortly after, a solidarity campaign entitled #WeStandWithFara begin to trend on social media.

The survey:

The team at the Boar told the Independent in a statement it was “shocked” by the nationally-reported incident at the university, and said the paper decided to contact as many student publications from across the UK as possible in “a nationwide attempt to investigate the true nature of racism at universities.”

The statement continued: “We are currently releasing online surveys to the student population asking about their experiences of racism at university and its prevalence.

“This is to be followed by FoI requests to UK universities regarding the number of reported racist incidents on campuses, and access to university for BME students and academics.

“We are already finding a worrying percentage of racial abuse goes unreported and that there are unclear or non-existent channels for reporting such abuses.”

On Thursday, Warwick’s Anti-Racism Society (WARSoc) thanked all who had signed its online petition which called for the university to “be held accountable for racism within its walls” after almost 1,500 people signed it.

Along with a list of demands the society said it would be presenting the university and students’ union with, the group added: “We will be going directly to the University of Warwick to act on our campaigns. The petition...demonstrates that we are committed to destroying racism.”

In a joint statement from the university, deputy registrar, Jo Horsburgh, and pro-vice-chancellor (research) and chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee, Professor Pam Thomas, said they were in contact with Ms Ifaturoti to ensure she had “full access to the breadth of student support services” on offer.

Campus employee tells white student you cannot wear dreads

The statement added how a senior member of the university’s Residential Life Team and the head of Student Support Services were also in contact with the student, and added: “She has been offered alternative accommodation in a number of other locations on campus.

“Support is also being offered to those others impacted by the incident.”

The pair continued: “We take the promotion of equality, diversity, and inclusion very seriously, and it concerns all of us.

“It is expected that we will all contribute to ensuring that the University of Warwick continues to be a safe, welcoming, and productive environment, where there is equality of opportunity, fostered in an environment of mutual respect and dignity.”

Student newspapers at universities currently involved in the survey include Warwick, Southampton, University College London, Cardiff, Durham, and Manchester as well as several others.

Other student publications looking to get involved are being urged to contact the Boar team by emailing news@theboar.org.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in