A student at Lancaster University was forced to pay for a new door in his dormitory after someone vandalized it with targeted racist defacement.
In his first term at Lancaster in the UK, Sa’ad Mustafā (@saadmustafauk) found a British slur meant to belittle Pakistani people written on his door.
Mustafā told the story of the incident in a viral TikTok video:
“Within the first term, my door was graffitied with the word 'p***.'"
"Now the university, as they were resolving it, kicked me out of the room, moved me to another room and charged me for the door and the other room."
"They dropped the investigation after two weeks and instructed me not to go to the police, they said that they would be investigating it."
“The university also said if I wanted to carry on studying, I had to give an apology."
"I never did, and I still don’t understand why."
He also said that the staff person who came to the scene told Mustafā "no one cares."
“I would highly suggest any coloured person not to go to Lancaster University, you’re not going to get the support you need."
Eventually, Mustafā went to the police to file a report. There, he learned Lancaster University is known for telling students to not go to the police while the do their own investigation in an attempt to evade tarnishing their reputation.
Racism at university #racism #pakistan #southasian #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #britstok #uni #unilife #mentalhealth #blm #stitch
The video reached 59.7 thousand likes and 322.5 thousand views.
Many commenters were showing support and sympathy for Mustafā while others tagged the university demanding an explanation.
After the video went viral, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Schofield gave a statement about the incident.
"I am very concerned about the distressing incident as described by Sa’ad and sorry to hear about the impact that this had on his experience at Lancaster."
"We are in the process of reviewing past events to see if there are further lessons we can learn. We have also reached out to him to offer our support."
“I want to make it very clear that our investigatory processes have changed and improved in the past few years."
"We are now committed to the Race Equality Charter and we are taking robust steps in preventing and addressing this type of behaviour under our new policy framework."
“Racism will not be tolerated at Lancaster and runs contrary to our values."
"We aspire to be an inclusive community where all of our members are treated with dignity and respect.”
In an update video, Mustafā responded to the statement made by Schofield.
"He's immediately lied. He said that this incident happened in 2017 - it happened in 2018."
"There's police reports to prove that."
"He claims that the policy was improved in 2017."
"It obviously wasn't because I was a victim on the policy in 2018."
The university did issue in the same Twitter thread a correction to the year.
"The accommodation manager and the accommodation porter, both of whom didn't help and subjected me to racism, are still working there."
Mustafā is estranged from his family. A moment that really showed him that the university didn't care about his well-being was when he received news that his mother had passed away.
Out of nowhere, he was told that his mom actually hadn't passed away and that it was a different student's mother. During both of those instances Mustafā received no support from the university whatsoever.
Another message defacing his door said "dead mum."
"I spend Christmas alone in the university halls and at no point was I given any support for this."
"And they were fully aware of this."
"Which is why when it came to the racist incident on my door, they knew I could get away with it because they knew I had no one to go to."
Reply to @greatinvestments thank you all for the love and support #uni #racism #blm #pakistan #protest #mentalhealth #fyp #foryou #foryoupage
Mustafā told indy100 that he does not want repayment for the charges made to him for the door.
However, he does want to make changes to the university:
“I genuinely just want them to help."
"I actually want to be on the team at uni and make the change for them."
He would gladly accept a paid position to assist the administration.
Lancaster Police confirmed that there was a report in 2018 for "racially aggravated criminal damage" but no arrests were made.
The police said:
"Hate crime causes great distress to victims and we are committed to investigating all crimes and incidents motivated by hate, supporting victims and bringing offenders to justice."
The reporting of this incident comes a year after a Students' Union BME Officer, Chloe Long, shared pictures from a white t-shirt party that had racist remarks written on student's shirts. Long was suspended from her role for “unauthorized release of confidential material."
Lancaster University gave an extensive statement to indy100 about looking into Mustafā's alligations:
“So far we are unable to find evidence to support a number of the claims that Sa’ad makes in the videos he posted, including that he was advised not to go to the police; made to apologise; made to pay for a door or accommodation he did not use; or that the university failed to undertake a full investigation into racist graffiti appearing on his door."
“There seem to be new allegations being made which do not appear to be part of the original investigation."
"In light of the seriousness of the allegations being made we have asked him to get in touch with us and we are also undertaking a review of the original investigation to ascertain all the facts."
The shared that the university is investigating the claims:
"But, as of [Tuesday], we have not been able to find any evidence to suggest that the University required this student pay for damage to their door, pay for accommodation they did not use, discouraged them go to the police, or was requested to provide an apology."
"We have also contacted the former student, inviting them to engage directly with us so we can understand the full picture, gather evidence from them and take action, wherever necessary."
The asserted that all reports of racism will be handled by the university and will "learn and improve" if they "fall short in upholding their values."
Mustafā continues to gain online support for pursuing his claims.