In an investigation conducted by The Boar, 64.4% of Warwick students said that they have personally experienced discrimination on campus, in Leamington Spa, or in Coventry.
An additional 79.3% of people said that they know someone personally who experienced discrimination while studying at the University.
When asked how they felt about these statistics, one second-year student remarked that the results were “unsurprising considering the incredibly privileged background of the students and the university's complacent attitude towards addressing the university’s array of embedded cultural issues”.
The Boar News survey, which ran from 3 May to 16 May, found that 89.7% of this discrimination occurs on campus, compared to 58.6% in Leamington Spa and 24.1% of people experiencing discrimination in Coventry.
One student who partook in the survey commented on the discrimination they witnessed on campus. They said: “I have witnessed a lot of racist micro-aggressions on Warwick campus. Often people will openly perpetuate racist stereotypes about international students, notably those who are Asian.
“Where I have seen students struggle most commonly is in shared kitchen spaces, as often international students who cook foods that English students will not be familiar with have complained to me about inappropriate and offensive comments from their flatmates about their food and the country that they are from.”
Another reflected on the discrimination they experienced personally within a society at Warwick. “I’m from a working class area and I have a distinct accent”, they stated.
“One night, I went to a society social and I overheard some of the society members asking whether I was one of the locals in a very dismissive tone, and another one comparing me to a servant.
“There’s a definite sense that some people at Warwick look down their noses at people from my background.”
The survey found that 62.9% of participants who experienced discrimination had experienced sexism or misogyny, while 43.5% experienced classism, 29% experienced homophobia, and 25.8% experienced racism.
When asked what instances of discrimination they had witnessed or heard about, 78.3% of participants said they knew someone who had experienced racism. 71% knew someone who had experienced sexism or misogyny, 49.3% knew someone who had experienced homophobia, 46.4% knew someone who experienced classism, 37.7% knew someone who experiences transphobia, 31.9% knew someone who experienced Islamaphobia, and 30.4% knew someone who experienced antisemitism.
Some students remarked on the possible solutions to the discrimination faced by students at Warwick. However, one wrote that “sadly, I don’t ever see a solution” and another wrote “IDK [I don’t know] I am afraid”.
One student suggested “clear guidance on words and phrases that are not acceptable and consequences if people use it”.
It was also suggested that there should be a “bigger push for intercultural training by the University, more punishment and an easier process of reporting instances of discrimination. Also maybe sign posting that if incidents take place off of campus they can still be reported to the University rather than the police.”
Former President of Warwick Students' Union, Luke Mepham, said: "Warwick Students’ Union is committed to reducing all forms of discrimination against our students, and we will continue working to create a campus where everybody feels safe and respected.
"We know that many of our students have experienced different forms of discrimination on campus and in the surrounding area, so while the results of The Boar’s survey are disappointing and upsetting, they are, unfortunately, not surprising.
"The Students’ Union has been working with the University to improve how they are dealing with issues of discrimination, and we will continue pushing them do more in this area. We have been pleased with the University’s expansion of its Report & Support service to include issues of discrimination, and we will continue pushing for further development of that service.
"The SU Advice Centre is available to help students through the Report & Support process and, as a Third-Party Reporting Centre, they can also make students aware of other options they might have available.
"We will continue to raise the profile of Report & Support so more of our students know what it is and how to access it, and we will actively promote the Active Bystander Intervention courses – empowering students to intervene and call out unacceptable behaviour whenever and wherever they encounter it.
"It is now compulsory for at least two execs from every SU club or society to complete the Active Bystander course, and we are pushing for this to be made mandatory for all new students starting at Warwick.
"The recently formed Student Advisory Group on sexual violence has been instrumental in raising the concerns of student groups with the University, and agreeing on actions to improve levels of reporting. We are keen for this format to be replicated for all forms of discrimination, and we are working with the University to make that happen.
"As part of the Students’ Union’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Review, we are rolling out anti-discrimination training to all staff, and working with the University to ensure that training for staff on disciplinary panels is of the highest possible standard.
"After the end of this academic year, for the first time, the University will publish an anonymised report of all the sanctions brought against students via disciplinary panels. Hopefully, this should provide clarity around what measures they are taking in response to incidences of discrimination.
"Beyond the University, we are working with bars and clubs in Leamington to encourage them to send their security staff on Good Night Out training. Hopefully, this should lead to the SU next year being able to publish a list of those venues that have complied, so students can make informed choices about where to go. We are also liaising with the local council (as well as the University) to improve outdoor lighting so that our students feel safer when they are out.
"Although we have made significant progress on educating ourselves and others around issues of discrimination, and improving the support available to those who have suffered it, we recognise that there is still much work to be done. We will continue to strive for the respectful, safe and inclusive community that we want to see at Warwick."
The University of Warwick commented: "Everyone in our community has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and we are greatly concerned to learn of any instance of members of our community not being treated in accordance with our values.
"We value each other’s individuality and we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and we are committed to removing all structural or systemic barriers to equality.
“We ask anyone who has been subject to bullying and harassment, discrimination of any kind, sexual misconduct or a hate crime to inform us by using Report and Support so that our team can support individuals whether or not they choose to make a formal complaint.
"It doesn’t matter if the incident(s) took place on or off campus, or if the incident(s) happened in the past - within 48 hours of contacting Report and Support, a trained Student Liaison Officer will get in touch to talk through the options available and be a dedicated point of contact.”