Student Wellbeing

Concerns about Racism

Newcastle University affirms that there is no place for racism or racial harassment of any kind in our university. We have a long-standing commitment to social justice and to equality, diversity and inclusion and acknowledge there is still much more that needs to be done to achieve permanent positive change and to eliminate racism from our community.

In line with achieving our aims to eliminate racism from our community, we have several mechanisms for reporting racism and support available for those who have experienced or witnessed racism within the university community.

What is Racism?

Racism refers to any prejudices, hatred or discrimination against a person or group of people because of their skin colour, ethnicity or national background. Race is simply a social construction; it is not biological. As such, racism is socially and politically manufactured. [Ref: Nayak A. (2017) Young people, race and ethnicity. Furlong A, (ed) Routledge Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood: Second Edition. London: Routledge pp.58-66.] In the UK, racism tends to affect groups such as black, Asian, minority ethnic, Arab background or with a mixed-race heritage. It also applies to white minorities, such as Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies, who can be subject to racism as a result of their nationality.

What is Racial Harassment?

Racial Harassment refers to verbal, non-verbal or physical aggression towards a person or people who are perceived to belong to a different racial group. In some situations an individual may not realise that they are being racially harassed but bystanders (witnesses) may be able to identify it.

Racial harassment can take many forms including:

  • Non-Verbal – such as offensive gestures, facial expressions, racist graffiti, arson or damage to property, threatening or isolating behaviours;
  • Verbal – such as derogatory remarks, racially explicit statements or threats, stereotyping, racists jokes or ridicule;
  • Physical – such as jostling or assault.

Racial harassment may be very explicit or may take the form of microaggressions.

If the victim of racism believes that it was because they belong to a particular racial group, it is usually defined as racial harassment, whatever other people may say. Racial harassment is never the fault of the person who is experiencing it.

What are the effects of racial harassment?

If you have experienced racial harassment you may be feeling:

  • Angry or upset
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Confused or perplexed
  • Reluctant to engage with work or studies
  • Vulnerable

You may also recognise these signs in others who have experienced racial harassment. If you or someone else has experienced the effects of racial harassment noted above then support is available from the University or Newcastle University Students’ Union

Racial Microaggressions

Racial microaggressions are a subtle but toxic form of racism commonly faced by people from ethnic minority groups, including those who identify as Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME). Such microaggressions are subtle slights experienced daily based on skin colour and/or ethnicity that individuals might keep to themselves, only discussing with their family or friends. Over a period of time, such behaviours undermine a person’s wellbeing and confidence, and can lead to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and other mental and physical health issues.

Racial microaggressions can include (but not limited to) the following type of behaviours directed towards individuals from ethnic minority groups:

  • Failing to make the effort to pronounce or spell correctly their name
  • Failing to recognise or confusing people with other ethnic minority individuals in a group
  • Ignoring the contribution being offered by ethnic minority individuals
  • Disrespectful comments or unwarranted physical contact highlighting language, culture, food, clothing or hair differences
  • Singling out an individual to speak on behalf of ethnic minority issues
  • Negative or insensitive comments or questions about racial issues e.g. “returning to your country”

University Support

Remember you do not have to make any formal report in order to receive free confidential support from the University. 

Student Health and Wellbeing Team are experienced in supporting students who have been victims of discrimination or harassment and they work closely with local and national partners to link you to more specialist support, should you need it.

Our Faith and Spirituality Team provide dedicated and confidential support for anyone affected by harassment and in need of someone to talk to. They can be contacted by email:

You can receive confidential counselling support from the Newcastle University Student Health and Wellbeing Counselling Team

Call them: + 44 (0) 191 208 3333.

You can also receive support from your Personal Tutor and you may want to inform your school of the impact your experiences had upon you through the PEC system.

All Postgraduates can receive free service 24/7 personal support from our PG support service.

Call: 0800 030 5182

Reporting Racism

If you have experienced racism of any kind during your studies, whether it was perpetrated by a Newcastle University student or staff member, you can discuss this with the Student Progress Casework Team who, with your consent and cooperation, will initiate the appropriate complaint or disciplinary processes, as set out below.

Racism by another University Student

The Investigation Protocol for Sexual Misconduct / Harassment / Hate Crime details how a report of racism perpetrated by another University student will be investigated by the University and explains what you can expect to happen following the submission of your report.

Racism carried out by a member of University Staff

If you wish to report an act of racism which involves a member of University Staff you can report this by submitting a formal complaint to the University.  This is done by submitting a Complaint Form and any supporting evidence to the Student Progress Casework Team

For advice and guidance on either of these processes email:

NUSU Support

Newcastle University Students' Union provides a number of dedicated report and support options.

The Student Advice Centre provide free confidential advice and peer-to-peer support can be found from student societies.

You can also contact the Welfare and Equality Officer – Aleena Ikram

External Support

We recognise you may wish to report your experience or seek support outside of the University. The following agencies offer a range of report and support options which you may wish to consider.

Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police have an online form for reporting incidents which specifically asks about threat, force, violence or intimidation which may be related to race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Stop Hate Line

0800 138 1625

Stop Hate UK for immediate advice and support. Anyone who is either a victim or a witness of racism or hate crime will be able to report the incident directly to the Helpline.

True Vision

True Vision: Police funded website designed to provide information about racism and hate crime and aimed at improving the service that Police provide to minority communities. Self reporting and information pack available as well as online facilities that allows you to report hate crime quickly to the Police.


0800 555 111

Call anonymously with information about crime.

Equality Advisory & Support (EASS)

0808 800 0082

Advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights across England, Scotland and Wales

Victim Support National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre Wales

0300 3031982

Helpline for anyone affected by crime regardless of whether a crime has been reported.