University of Limerick students are to be offered anti-racism training as part of their orientation, in response to a series of racist attacks on the campus.
It comes after a series of reported racist attacks on international students, including one incident where a woman reportedly had her hijab forcibly removed.
The University of Limerick said “we will make it very clear to all incoming students that any kind of discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated and there will be academic consequences for this type of behaviour.”
In a recent statement, the University of Limerick condemned the discriminatory acts and said they would take the necessary steps to ensure such incidents would not happen again.
“The University of Limerick categorically condemns any act of racism or discrimination that takes place on or off campus.”
“We will ensure that every student who joins the UL community understands and embraces UL’s repudiation of any form of racism or discrimination.”
“Details of recent incidents reported by a number of international PhD students are hugely distressing and are being fully investigated. Not all incidents reported were carried out by UL students or involve the UL campus but I passionately believe that every student of this University should feel supported by their fellow students and that they are part of a welcoming community.”
“UL was one of the first universities of sanctuary in Ireland and is very proud of the programme, which has enhanced the campus and student population immensely.”
“In respect of the incidents which have been reported in the last number of weeks, we have taken immediate action to safeguard against any further incidents of discrimination including increasing security, increased access to student supports (i.e. counselling), direct engagement by myself in addressing the affected students and the development of a community-wide communications campaign to educate students in the coming year.
It is hoped the anti-racism training will be offered to all incoming students in conjunction with the university orientation and induction programme.
Increased security and additional supports have also been made available to safeguard students against any further incidents of discrimination.
Responding to the alleged attacks, Professor Nigel Healey, Interim Provost and Deputy President/Vice President Global and Communication, said:
“It is heart-breaking to think of any international student, who has made the huge decision to study abroad and who has chosen Limerick and UL as their host city and institution, being treated as anything other than a very valued guest and a welcome member of our UL community.
“A university is a place where young people are positively influenced to be civic minded, collaborative, global citizens ready to positively engage and contribute,” he added.
The University of Limerick actively encourages any student who has experienced any form of racial prejudice or abuse to come forward and make a report via UL’s Complaints Procedure or An Garda Siochana.