Universities UK calls for urgent action on racial harassment in higher education

  • Rapid action required to eradicate racial harassment for all students and staff
  • Practical recommendations for all leaders to implement as soon as possible
  • Senior leaders encouraged to improve awareness of concepts including white privilege and allyship

On Tuesday 24 November 2020 Universities UK (UUK) published a new set of recommendations designed to decisively tackle racial harassment as part of efforts to address racial inequality in UK higher education.

The resulting recommendations include practical steps that all university leaders can implement immediately:

  • Publicly commit priority status to tackling racial harassment
  • Engage directly with students and staff with lived experience of racial harassment
  • Review current policies and procedures and develop new institution-wide strategies for tackling racial harassment
  • Improve awareness and understanding of racism, racial harassment, white privilege and microaggressions among all staff and students, including through anti-racist training
  • Ensure expected behaviours for online behaviour are clearly communicated to students and staff, as well as sanctions for breaches
  • Develop and introduce reporting systems for incidents of racial harassment
  • Collect data on reports of incidents and share regularly with senior staff and governing bodies

We were delighted at intersol Global to be able to support in a small way with the development of these recommendations drawing on the rich experience of our diverse team of investigators and case managers who have investigated, and continue to investigate, reports of racial harassment and bullying.

All the team have a wealth of specialist experience and contribute a unique investigative perspective to this work. Check out their brief biogs at: https://intersolglobal.wpengine.com/meet-the-team/investigations-team/


Our contribution to the research feeding into the recommendations are captured on slide 58, Chapter 3, reproduced below:



With reference to “Lack of witnesses” (above)

In common with many complaints racial harassment and bullying can amount to ‘one word against the other’. In such cases the forensic account of those involved is critical and the UUK recommendations emphasise that:

“Training for investigators can focus on the investigation and interviewing skills needed in such cases”.

At Intersol we don’t just ‘train’, we ‘QUALIFY’ and embed our practical expertise and currency within that training such that we can train you to conduct those straightforward investigations better and more reliably whilst managing and conducting those complex and most risky investigations for you.


Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London and President, Universities UK said:

“Every racist incident is one too many, and all university students and staff are entitled to a positive, safe and enjoyable experience free from racial harassment. As university leaders we have a duty of care to provide that outcome and these recommendations are designed to ensure that we do.

“Although universities have made progress in tackling all forms of harassment since the launch of UUK’s Changing the culture work in 2016, it’s clear that more needs to be done to tackle racial harassment throughout higher education. This guidance provides lessons and solutions which will help university leaders make rapid and lasting change for all those working and studying at the UK’s universities.

“All university leaders should read this guidance and implement its recommendations alongside their own activities to make a real difference to all those working and studying in our communities.”

Intersol Global were delighted to help in some small way with sharing learning from investigations with UUK.  

Reporting and Supporting victims is critical but investment in it fails if the investigative response is inadequate.

If you would like to know more about how we train, qualify, and investigate, or would find some investigative advice helpful please contact us in confidence at info@intersolglobal.com

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