Lancaster University students demand an apology from Lancaster University amid claims racism continues to be ignored.
On the 20th January 2022, Former Lancaster Student Sa’ad Mustafa bravely disclosed the racist attacks he was subjected to during his time at Lancaster University. Revealed in a Tiktok which has since gone viral with support from both Alumni and current students of the University, Sa’ad detailed not only his experience but what Racial & Ethnic Minority Students’ Officer, Max Kafula described as an “outright disgusting” response from the University.
During the Tiktok, Sa’ad claimed that within his first term at Lancaster University his accommodation door was graffitied with the ‘P’ slur.
When reported to the University, he was allegedly “kicked out of the room,” charged for the door and the room whilst staying in different accommodation.
Although an investigation was started, Sa’ad claimed the University felt it appropriate to drop it within two weeks and allegedly instructed him not to go to the police. When he did eventually go to the police Sa’ad said that he was told “the University is known for advising students not to contact them so that it doesn’t come up on their record.”
Furthermore, the University went on to allegedly inform Sa’ad that if he wished to continue studying at Lancaster University he “had to give an apology.” Sa’ad understandably never gave this apology as he didn’t see why it was necessary when he had been the victim of a racist attack.
It has since been revealed that this incident occurred in Cartmel College. Cartmel JCR has released a statement expressing their support to “all our students, especially those in Cartmel College, and if anyone has any similar experiences the JCR is here to ensure that their voices are heard.”
Lancaster Students’ Union has also expressed their support stating that “the racism that Sa’ad experienced is sickening and completely unacceptable, but what makes it so much worse is the inadequate response he received when he reported it. We are extremely concerned to hear what happened.”
In response to Sa’ad’s experience, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Schofield said that he is “very concerned about the distressing incident as described by Sa’ad” and is “sorry to hear about the impact that this had on his experience at Lancaster.”
The Vice-Chancellor also said, “I want to make it very clear that our investigatory processes have changed and improved since 2017/18.”
The statement released by the Vice-Chancellor goes on to express that “emotional support is also available through the Student Wellbeing Co-ordinator or Counselling and Mental Health Service. Our Counselling and Mental Health Service can also provide advice and guidance on the options available and support students through any practical procedures, such as reporting an incident.”
However, Sa’ad revealed in a follow-up Tiktok that within the first week he was informed his mum had died only to be told the next day that his mum was actually fine. As an estranged student, Sa’ad was deeply hurt by this and claims he was never offered mental health support. Sa’ad also spent Christmas in University halls and despite being fully aware, he allegedly wasn’t offered any support.
With regard to further comments made by the Vice-Chancellor, the recent commitment to the Race Equality Charter was used to evidence the “robust steps in preventing and addressing this type of behaviour under our new policy framework.” Although an excellent step in the right direction, University’s strategic EDI plan stated that they should obtain an award by the Race Equality Charter by 2020 yet still haven’t.
Racial & Ethnic Minorities Officer, Max Kafula highlighted this in his statement:
During an interview with SCAN, Sa’ad said, “I would hope that those who are listening would not look upon this as a rude intrusion but as an earnest effort to focus attention on an issue that might very well determine whether or not this university has the right to say from this point forward we believe in the equality and rights of all people who remain free and independent and receive support whilst on this campus.”
Sa’ad hopes that his story will inspire Lancaster University to begin recognising racism and create a community where everyone is accepted.