Sheffield University’s Vice Chancellor has reassured international students in the current “uncertain” and “unsettling” times, amid warnings of a spike in hate crimes post-Brexit.
In an email sent to all students, Professor Koen Lamberts affirmed that there has been careful planning to mitigate the impact of all Brexit scenarios, including no-deal, and that this will continue to be a priority.
The Vice Chancellor said: “I want to reiterate that our University is a truly international community with 29,000 students and 8,000 staff from more than 140 countries around the world.
“We will do all we can to safeguard our values and remain the welcoming home of global scholarship that we are so deeply proud to be.”
This comes as new police figures showed that one in four racially or religiously motivated offences go unsolved in South Yorkshire.
Rex Béchu, International Students’ Officer, found these developments “deeply saddening”.
She said that there are tensions around Brexit and that it is difficult to go through these uncertain times, particularly as a student.
She added: “When you are a student, you want to change the world for better and witnessing the tensions between various groups makes it very difficult.
“Hate crime is terrible and Sheffield Students’ Union does not condone any form of it.”
Brexit is not an excuse
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “There are strong views about the EU Exit and loud debate but there is no excuse for hate crime. Police will respond robustly to people who cross that line.
“Nobody should have to face violence and intimidation because of who they are. Hate crimes will be treated seriously and investigated.”
Police urge anyone who suffers from hate crime to report it, either by calling 101 (999 in an emergency) or online through their True Vision web site at www.report-it.org.uk. People can also call Stop Hate on 0800 138 1625.