Office for Students

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what powers are planned for the Office for Students to investigate incidents of racism on campuses.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Higher Education), Minister of State (Education)

Providers have a responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students, and that students do not face discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

The responsibility for investigating racist incidents sits with the provider and, where appropriate, it would make use of its internal complaints and disciplinary processes for tackling racist behaviour by individuals or groups of individuals.

Where a complaint regarding a racist incident was not resolved through a provider’s internal processes, it could be investigated by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. Should an incident constitute a criminal offence, it would be investigated by the police.

Failure by a provider to fulfil its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 would be a matter for the Equality and Human Rights Commission as the enforcer of equality legislation rather than for the Office for Students.

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