Tackling hate crime

Sheffield Hallam University has been awarded funding to support projects to address concerns of hate crime and online harassment on university campuses.

The University is one of over 40 universities and colleges to be awarded grants totalling £1.8 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund.

The funding will support a range of projects focused on strategic and sustainable interventions to encourage greater student engagement; embed more effective reporting systems and support international students.

The project at Hallam will enhance positive relationships between different groups across the University and Students’ Union. Project activities will be student-led, and emerge out of students’ academic specialisms, with students being invited to bid for funding to support their projects.

This work builds on the existing Don’t Stand By project, in which student educators are supporting their peers to complete online activities on academic integrity, ethical behaviour using social media, and the ‘Consent Matters’ resource.  Don’t Stand By is based on positive intervention strategies which can be deployed to prevent all kinds of harassment and bullying, no matter what the motivation.

It also supports national initiatives including Hate Crime Awareness Week and the recognition of the Students’ Union as a Hate Crime Reporting Centre.

Martin Conway, who is leading the project for the University said: “The project promotes the value of open discussion as a route to understanding and mutual respect, with a focus on the debate of ideas, by using project resources to equip staff and students with the skills to manage debate and defuse conflict.”

The project forms the second phase of HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, which previously awarded the University funding for its project toaddress concerns about sexual violence and harassment on campus.

The second phase of funding has been issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force, which explored the nature and scale of hate crime in higher education, and highlighted a need for institutions to respond more effectively.

The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, said: “Hate crime of any kind has no place in our society or on our campuses, and we expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of harassment, whether it takes place online or in person.

“I am pleased to see HEFCE supporting the important work of the Universities UK Taskforce, and I am hugely encouraged to see universities working closely with students to develop different approaches to tackling this important issue.”

For press information: Jo Beattie in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2811 or email j.beattie@shu.ac.uk

University awarded funding to address hate crime and harassment first appeared in SHU Media Centre 16 October 2017

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