A new report commissioned by The Last Taboo found that 65% of BAME students at the University of York said they had been sexually harassed, and 70% have witnessed harassment.
According to the report, 70% of BAME students who spoke to The Last Taboo said that they would not feel comfortable reporting sexual harassment or assault to the University of York.
The report surveyed students at York to collate their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, looking at how different groups, including disabled students and working class students, have been affected by sexual violence.
Jordan Thomas, YUSU’s incoming BAME Officer, told Vision: “The University hasn’t done enough to convince a group of people who already feel like they are not listened to that they are.”
One student who spoke to The Last Taboo said: “I think black students don’t trust institutions because of the lack of transparency and the fact that no one is ever held accountable”.
Horrocks and Balmer said that in order to help BAME students overcome “cultural and institutional barriers”, a specialist BAME Sexual Violence Liason Officer should be appointed.
Fiks Aderemi, the current YUSU BAME Officer, told Vision: “Trust can only come with actions from the University, with better pastoral care and support services from BAME students who have experienced sexual violence.”
“These actions should not be tolerated at the University of York and quicker investigations should be carried out when it comes to sexual assault.”
Another student said: “Sometimes at universities which aren’t as diverse, it can feel like you might not be taken as seriously as a BAME student”.
In response to this report, a spokesman from the University of York has told York Vision:
“We welcome the report, which is being presented to our Student Life Committee next week for consideration.
“The University takes the issue of sexual violence and harassment extremely seriously, but it would be inappropriate to comment in detail until colleagues have had an opportunity to read the report in full and consider its findings.
“We have a number of measures in place already to support students, including our Sexual Violence Liaison Offers, who offer one-to-one practical and emotional support, and advice about internal and external support services.”