Funding boost to tackle hate crime and harassment on campus

TACKLING HATE crime and sexual harassment on campus is set to benefit from a cash boost of nearly £60k.

The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union (LUU) are joining forces on a HEFCE-funded project to improve hate crime awareness and reporting amongst students by creating a ‘challenge’, ‘report’ and ‘support’ culture on campus.

Following a successful pitch, HEFCE has awarded a grant of £38,737, with further contributions from the University for £11,168, and the LUU providing a further £8,200.

The LUU Student Advice Centre will lead an awareness-raising campaign to enable students to identify and report concerns, both on and off campus.

Student ambassadors, trained by Stop Hate UK, will work with LUU’s faith societies, culture groups, LGBT+ and Disability Action groups, as well as faculties which have a high percentage of international students, to help develop an understanding of what hate crime is, how to report it and how to access support.

They’ll make sure that the training is passed on from the society committees to incoming committee members next year so that the messages don’t get lost.

Chris Warrington, Head of Student Support at the University of Leeds, who led on the grant application, says:

Community ethos plays an important and positive part in our students’ and researchers’ time at Leeds, so working in partnership with LUU to raise awareness and enable students to report hate related behaviour or incidents, wherever they might be encountered is invaluable.

The University will work with student ambassadors to develop a new online reporting system to complement our existing reporting centres and the role of the West Yorkshire Police Campus Liaison Officer, PC Rebecca Hurrell.

The funding is part of a £2.45 million HEFC grant under its Catalyst Fund towards 63 projects addressing sexual harassment on campuses across England.

This is in response to Universities UK’s Harassment Taskforce report on the need for universities and colleges to do more to address the problem. HEFCE has since issued a further call for projects to tackle hate crime and online harassment.

Leeds is one of more than 40 universities and colleges to receive funding from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund to help tackle hate crime and harassment in higher education.

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, says: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are making progress in tackling the issues of hate crime and online harassment on campus, but there is more to be done.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months.”