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Racist incidents at UK universities have risen by more than 60% in two years

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There has been a huge rise in racist incidents happening at UK universities in the past two years, with recent figures showing an increase of over sixty per cent. 

Data obtained from freedom of information requests made by The Independent have exposed the surge in the number of alleged racist incidents on campuses across the country. 

Analysis of these statistics, which were released by ninety four UK universities, reveals that one-hundrend-and-twenty-nine alleged racist incidents were reported in 2017, a  much higher figure than the eighty reported in 2015.

Meanwhile in 2016, one-hundred-and-five alleged racist incidents were reported to UK universities, meaning that there has been a twenty-three per cent rise in one year and a sixty per cent rise in the past two years.

 With worries that many racist incidents are going un-reported, the National Union of Students (NUS) is calling on universities to better tackle racism and take racist claims more seriously.

Ilyas Nagdee, NUS black students’ officer, said: "Universities will continue to be perceived as liberal places of tolerance when unfortunately all the data, all the stories and all the evidence is telling us this is not the case."

Out of the ninety four universities who released data, nearly two in five revealed an increase in the number of racist incidents in the past two years.

In the same time period, figures obtained from UK universities also show that the number of religiously motivated hate crime incidents has doubled from six incidents in 2015 to twelve incidents in 2017.

NUS suspects the rise in alleged racist incident reports may be due to the increased efforts of student officers alongside the increase in student-led intolerance campaigns on campuses.

Over the past year several high-profile racist incidents on UK campuses have been exposed via social media posts. One shocking event that was brough to the attention of many via the power of social media was when - at a student halls of residence in Nottingham - racist chants were made outside student Rufaro Chisango's bedroom. She filmed the chants, later uploading the recording to Twitter where her video subsequently went viral. The perpetrators were arrested with one pleading guilty and being ordered by the judge to pay copensation to Chisango. 

Punishments handed out by uni's for racist offenders on campus have included suspension and expulsion, but overwhelmingly some have just been formal warnings, requests for written apologies, and fines. One student accused of Islamophobia at Queen’s University Belfast was let off with a 3,000-word reflective essay.

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