response to racist attack
Photo: @Faramade_ / Twitter

Four hours, ‘no response’: Warwick reaction to racist incident under fire

Warwick’s response to a recent racist incident has come under fire: at 11am on 5 April, Faramade Ifaturoti, a first-year Biomedical Sciences student, reported the incident in her Rootes kitchen to the resident tutor, after racial slurs had been written on a bunch of bananas and placed in her cupboard.

It wasn’t until four hours and a viral tweet later that Warwick accommodation made contact with her.

The photo of the bananas was posted at 2:55pm on the afternoon of 5 April, leaving almost four hours between when the University have said the resident tutor was made aware, and Fara posting to Twitter.

Fara told the Boar she reported the incident – not the first one she has had to report – to her resident tutor, and only posted the photo of the slurs onto Twitter some time later.

On the other hand, Peter Dunn, director of press and policy at Warwick, explained that any time delay in the report and the investigation is due to the incident occurring out of term time: “We are still out of term time and therefore some residential staff in undergraduate halls will be away on leave at such times, and out of term it obviously can take a little more time for the remaining residential staff to locate and brief each other.”

Later comments and testimonies collected by the Boar regarding the incident have also highlighted a disparity between the victim’s account, and the University’s.

This isn’t the first incident she has reported to the resident tutor, it just hasn’t been taken seriously.

Anonymous student

The reason Fara posted the photo was because no one had yet acted on the report, according to her: “I reported it way before I put it on Twitter but no one took it seriously.”

A student, who wishes to remain anonymous, added: “I believe she emailed the school to report it and they didn’t get back to her till hours after it had gone viral on Twitter.”

The University, meanwhile, have claimed that the complaint was made at 11am, and was immediately being taken further.

As you know as soon as Warwick Accommodation were alerted to the matter, they too immediately sought out both the student and the Deputy Warden.

Peter Dunn

Once again contrary to student based reports, Peter Dunn stated: “I understand that the student had spoken to their resident tutor at around 11am who had already then began to investigate the matter within the hall.

“The tutor had in fact just made contact with the Deputy Warden of the Hall and was seeking advice from them on the next steps to take, at around roughly the same time as the matter was first posted on to social media.”

No accommodation change

Perhaps more seriously, however, Fara is still in the same accommodation that the incident occurred in, despite the University claiming an alternative has been offered.

Fara commented on 6 April: “I still haven’t been provided with different accommodation 24 hours on, there is no sense of urgency.”

The morning of 7 April, the situation was still the same, with Fara telling us: “I still currently have not been given anywhere to live.”

Yet the University have claimed they immediately offered alternative accommodation, once the incident was registered with them.

They stated: “She was offered alternative accommodation yesterday afternoon [5 April, date of incident], in a number of other locations on campus, some of which was available immediately, should she wish to avail of it.”

This contradicts Fara’s testimony that she is still in her existing accommodation. The Boar have also been told that the only “convenient” accommodation offered was Bluebell and that “they are trying to still make her pay to move”.

This apparent disparity between the descriptions of the University’s response follows calls – including a petition by Warwick Anti-Racism Society – for the University to take racist incidents more seriously, and to tackle institutionalised racism in the curriculum and academia.

Click here to read the original article reporting the incident.

To answer a survey by the Boar regarding racism at Warwick, click here.

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