University of Exeter responds to on-campus racism reported by the Anchor

University of Exeter Cornwall

The University of Exeter yesterday responded to an article from the Anchor on reports of racism experienced by students on campus. The Anchor today received permission to publish the university’s reponse.

The article outlines interviewees’ descriptions of racism on Penryn Campus, with many arguing that more could be done for students of colour.


Response from the University of Exeter:

[We] want to thank you and all student contributors to the Falmouth Anchor article for highlighting the unacceptable issues of racism on our Penryn Campus in Cornwall. Unfortunately, we recognise and acknowledge the experiences described in the article and are committed to working with all our campus and community partners, including Falmouth University, The Students’ Union and FX Plus, to support students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and adopt a proactive anti-racist approach. We want to send a clear message that racism of any kind will not be tolerated.

We encourage all students who have experienced or witnessed racism, either online, on campus or in the local community, to report this via the joint reporting tool Falmouth & Exeter Speak Out. You can use this confidential reporting route to report incidents either anonymously or informally. Following a report, you will receive contact from a member of staff to start a conversation about potential next steps, ensuring you receive appropriate signposting and support.

In addition, the University is actively engaged in a number of activities and initiatives to tackle racism and ensure equitable experiences for all our students. Please visit our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) webpages for the latest update on race equality work and anti-racism activities across the University, including those specific to Cornwall:

Cornwall Anti-racism Forum

Established following the Black Lives Matter protests which took place across Cornwall in June 2020, the Cornwall Anti-racism Forum hosts monthly drop-in sessions which provide informal learning opportunities for all members of staff and PGRs. Discussions to date have included recognising micro-aggressions, privilege and race-based hate crime and incident reporting. This year the EDI team are working to build on the Forum, creating a valuable resource base, training opportunities and learning events for staff, in collaboration with our community.

Decolonising the Curriculum

The University’s Academic Development team offer a range of resources to support lecturers and seminar leaders in fostering truly inclusive environments. These include The Inclusivity Toolkit and information about Decolonising the Curriculum within the Education Toolkit. In addition, we continue to deliver bespoke training and workshops tailored to our Penryn departments on anti-racism, decolonising the curriculum, unconscious bias and equality, diversity and inclusion more widely.  The University also welcomes the findings of the Decolonising the Curriculum Departmental Review in Politics Penryn. The recommendations for the University outlined in the review have been incorporated within our Race Equality Charter Mark submission and its findings continue to inform our work.

Community and Partnership Working

Findings from our Safeguarding BAME Students project in 2018 found that nearly a quarter of respondents experienced racism both on and off campus, while just over a fifth experienced it exclusively off campus. These findings illustrate the importance of sustained working with both our internal and external communities to improve awareness, reporting and support mechanisms in Cornwall. Members of the University community regularly attend and contribute to meetings with external stakeholders and community partners, including Safer Falmouth, Devon & Cornwall Police and Cornwall Council. We are also currently working on our institutional Race Equality action plan which will include specific and targeted commitments to address racism both on campus and within the wider community.

Furthermore, we are continuing to work with Falmouth University, The Students’ Union and FX Plus to establish a campus-wide Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group, with a broad remit which includes tackling racism and ensuring our campus is a welcoming and inclusive environment to live, work and study for all members of our community. 

To find out more information about our race equality and anti-racism activities, including the Race Equality Charter Mark, please contact edi@exeter.ac.uk.