Rufaro Chisango, a student at Notthingham Trent University said she was too scared to leave her dorm room after being subjected to racially motivated harassment outside her dorm room on Monday night. Chisango is the only black female student living on her floor and knew she was being targeted for the unprovoked hostility.
She filmed the unsettling incident from inside her room and posted the video where students could be heard chanting "we hate the blacks" and "sign the Brexit papers."
At one point, a woman's voice joined the racist chant, shouting, "We hate black people, white people are best."
yoo I’m fuming, the way people in the same uni halls as me are chanting “we hate the blacks” outside my bedroom doo… https://t.co/msc69ftrQi— foodguruu 👩🏾🍳 (@foodguruu 👩🏾🍳) 1520447229.0
"Words cannot describe how sad this makes me feel," she tweeted along with the video. "In this 2018 people think this is still acceptable."
Okay this happened Monday night, the video wasn’t able to catch what else they were saying which was “blacks would… https://t.co/QobKj3CCBG— foodguruu 👩🏾🍳 (@foodguruu 👩🏾🍳) 1520454013.0
During the disturbance, another person intervened, trying in vain to stop the racist chants, shouting, "Leave her alone!"
Chisango added followups to her tweet, saying that the incident was reported but has yet to hear back from the university.
I told the reception and they said that this will be dealt with Tuesday morning, they took my details and said they would inform me... it's Wednesday night and they haven't.
I’ve written a statement and have sent it to the uni and I’m waiting for a response... but I want to highlight how… https://t.co/LKumbbjFQX— foodguruu 👩🏾🍳 (@foodguruu 👩🏾🍳) 1520454174.0
It took until Thursday for NTU to respond, claiming they weren't notified of the incident until Wednesday. They tweeted, "We are investigating this as a matter of urgency. We are taking this extremely seriously and do not tolerate behaviour like this."
@TrentUni @rufarochisango_ Matter of urgency? It shouldn’t take it going viral for you to “take it seriously” It ha… https://t.co/A93F9WDNJJ— O... (@O...) 1520510257.0
Nottingham police issued a statement, saying they consider hate crime a top priority.
We are also working with our accommodation partner to understand why the university was only alerted to this on Wednesday evening after this was reported to them in the very early hours of Tuesday.
We are aware of a video posted at Nottingham Trent University and which has been shared on social media. It is wholly unacceptable and we're proactively investigating the incident and liaising with the university.
@rufarochisango_ We are investigating this as a matter of urgency. We are taking this extremely seriously and do no… https://t.co/l6U67gMJrX— Nottingham Trent University (@Nottingham Trent University) 1520466816.0
Chisango told the BBC that "It shouldn't have [taken] such a long delay when I reported something like this. I just want the appropriate action to be taken."
Tatenda Kanyere, the university's African-Caribbean Society President, told told Sky News reporter, Rebecca Taylor, that Chisango was shocked for the unexpected disturbance that held her prisoner in her own quarters.
She had to stay in the accommodation afterwards. This is the first time (this had happened). From our conversations, she does not think there was anything that sparked it, it was uncalled for. We hope justice is served.
@TrentUni @rufarochisango_ The amount of time taken to respond to this woman is shocking! Why has this response to… https://t.co/OSJq3POnvW— ATO (@ATO) 1520512753.0
A university spokesperson said suspects involved in the chanting were suspended, pending a thorough investigation. Two 18-year-olds, whose names have not been released, were arrested, according to the BBC.
We’ve arrested two men in connection with racially aggravated public order offences following reports of a video po… https://t.co/Yw7IQAuIr2— Notts Police (@Notts Police) 1520507875.0
The NTU spokesperson released a statement, saying:
We are shocked and appalled to see the video of racist chanting posted yesterday evening. This kind of vile behaviour will not be tolerated at Nottingham Trent University.
Sadly, this type of hate crime is common, according to Ilyas Nagdee, 23, National Union of Students officer representing students of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean descent.
These are just the stories that go viral over social media. But unfortunately this is the day-to-day experience of students of colour across the country and it has been going on for decades.
I'm contacted at least a couple of times a week by students asking me for help after experiencing racism.
The university tweeted saying they've reached out to console Chisango.
We have contacted the student who made the complaint and are providing support to her and others affected. And we a… https://t.co/q8i5WvemdU— Nottingham Trent University (@Nottingham Trent University) 1520500860.0
And Twitter berated NTU for lack of a prompt response.
@TrentUni Too bad you didn’t help her the first time, but thank goodness for @Twitter and peer pressure, eh?— Debbie Ebbiebobebbie ~ she/them still @🏡😷👩🏼🦽 (@Debbie Ebbiebobebbie ~ she/them still @🏡😷👩🏼🦽) 1520518683.0
People reached out to Chisango.
@rufarochisango_ I don’t know what to say other than I’m sorry this happened and I am enraged at the way you have b… https://t.co/AalaStVLXA— summertime (@summertime) 1520518106.0
for the 14yrs i’ve been friends with rufaro, she’s been nothing but an advocate for equality & positivity - she’s d… https://t.co/itkZhqQgaY— Saskia (@Saskia) 1520498526.0
I just want to thank everyone for their kind messages and all the support❤️. ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness on… https://t.co/uMTPnriZW3— foodguruu 👩🏾🍳 (@foodguruu 👩🏾🍳) 1520480967.0