Statement: Recent Discriminatory Language On Campus

Following a number of recent incidents on campus and in the local area where national, ethnic and racial discrimination has been apparent, the Students’ Union would like to reaffirm our commitment to zero tolerance towards such language and behaviour within the Royal Holloway community.

Specific incidents have occurred against the backdrop of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong as well as the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. As a Students’ Union, we have a long-standing relationship with political activism and understand that these topics, and any individually held views about them, will potentially result in disagreements due to differences of opinion. However, it is important that this discourse is respectful and approached with an open mind. What is not acceptable is targeted insults or discriminatory language being used against other students or on materials used to promote your cause, this extends to the defacement of murals on College premises to further a point.

Whilst Royal Holloway students all come from various backgrounds, our campus is a community in itself – one that is rich in diversity and international culture. We would urge all students to keep this at the forefront of their minds when conducting themselves within the Royal Holloway community, both online and on campus.

Understanding the line

We are fully aware that students, to varying degrees, want to become involved in understanding the events taking place in both Hong Kong and Israel. We encourage you to educate yourselves on the different situations and welcome you to express your opinions.

What is not acceptable is when this line is crossed and individuals use these events as an excuse to illustrate deep prejudice to other students, putting them at risk and making them feel unwelcome in our Royal Holloway community.

Tackling discrimination on campus

Any form of discrimination, or instances wherein one, or a group of students, feel threatened by another due to such actions, is taken incredibly seriously. In these incidents, we are working with the students to make a formal complaint to the College regarding the actions of any student known to be spreading hateful language. If other instances do occur, then please do inform us so that we can work with you in raising these concerns to the College.

Students’ Union President, Jack O’Neill, recently wrote to the College’s Deputy Principal (Operations), Dr David Ashton, regarding the ongoing issues in Imagine where a world map is being defaced with discriminatory language. He has since responded to this and will be exploring options with the Estates team for a replacement for the map. 

Alongside this, we will continue to lobby the College around the implementation of an online tool for reporting instances of harassment, discrimination and all other forms of hate crime which has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time.

If at any point you witness or feel you are a victim of any instance of racism, harassment or discrimination we strongly encourage you to report this to the College’s Wellbeing team using the email address wellbeing@rhul.ac.uk.