By Natasha Livingstone
The Government has awarded Durham University £50,000 to fund research into hate crime and harassment in the North East.
The money will finance a two-year investigation into religious and racially motivated violence affecting students in Durham and the wider region.
The University is one of 11 higher education institutions in England to receive the funding, provided by the Office for Students (OfS). The project is part of a national strategy to tackle hate crime and harassment on campus.
Researchers hope to learn more about of the causes of threats experienced by staff and students, find effective ways to intervene, and identify sufficient support systems for victims.
As part of the scheme, Durham University will launch an online ‘reporting and supporting’ programme. This will allow the Institution to record reports of hate crime and harassment.
At the end of the project, the eleven universities will form a national network with the OfS and Equality Challenge Unit, to share effective methods of tackling hate crime. The group will produce resources for colleges and universities across the country.
“With student safeguarding and wellbeing a priority for the OfS,” Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the OfS, said, “we are delighted to fund this network of new projects to tackle these issues.”
The grant has been welcomed University-wide. Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Antony Long, said: “We want all students and staff – here at Durham and in all universities – to feel safe, welcome, respected, and valued members of their communities.
“We are committed to tackling prejudice and hate crime in all its forms, and are pleased to be part of such an important and valuable national project aimed at combating these pernicious issues.”
Rosa Tallack, Welfare and Liberation Officer, said: “At Durham Students’ Union, we’re only too aware that hate crime is a prevalent issue in Durham, and something that many students feel strongly about and are campaigning on. It’s something we are working to challenge and looking forward to working closely with the University to combat.”
Photograph: Durham University