Two portrait photos of a brown man with black curly hair, a beard and a beanie. Text above him in both pictures read: 'Racism at University'.

Lancaster student allegedly made to pay for his own replacement door after it was vandalised with racist slur

Sa’ad Muṣṭafā/TikTok

A Lancaster University student was allegedly told he had to pay for a replacement door to his uni accommodation after it was graffitied with the racist slur ‘p***’ – according to a video which has since gone viral online.

Sa’ad Mustafa, 25, said he reported the incident in July 2018, when he was studying for a Management and IT degree at the university. The incident itself had happened in February that year he said.

“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.

“I would highly suggest any coloured person not to go to Lancaster University, you’re not going to get the support you need,” he said.

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While Mr Mustafa alleges he was charged for the door, he told indy100 that he does not wish to receive compensation for the costs.

“I genuinely just want them to help. I actually want to be on the team at uni and make the change for them,” he said, adding that he would be happy to take on a paid role at the university to assist them in this area.

Following the video being shared on TikTok, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Schofield said on Friday that he was ‘very concerned’ about the ‘distressing incident’ and was ‘sorry to hear’ about the impact it had on Sa’ad’s experience at the university.

‘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,’ he said.

In a statement to Indy100, Lancaster Police confirmed that a report of "racially aggravated criminal damage" was made in September 2018, with no arrests made following a police investigation.

"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," they said.

The alleged incident comes a year after it was reported that an international student was told he would not be able to receive his graduation certificate until he paid more than £17,000 back in tuition fees.

In 2018, Lancaster Students’ Union suspended their BME officer, Chloe Long, after she exposed images of a white t-shirt social from the university’s snowboarding society which she claimed depicted “hate speech”.

The leaked pictures showed members with t-shirts containing a swastika, as well as phrases such as “Sandy Hook was bantz”, “Mandela touched kids” and “Jimmy Saville was misunderstood”.

In a statement to Indy100 responding to Mr Mustafa’s accusations, Lancaster University said: “[We take] allegations of this nature very seriously. No student should be subject to racism in any form.

“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."

They went on to add that racism “will not be tolerated” at the university and ‘runs contrary to our values’, and encouraged students experiencing racism on campus to report the incident to the Student Conduct Officer, via their Unisafe app, or via the police.

Since publishing this story, Lancaster University have issued a further statement in response to the incident.

They told Indy100: "This week we have reviewed an extensive 2018 investigation into a number of complaints and counter-complaints within a student flat. The process of the current review has included ensuring allegations (relating to racist graffiti brought forward by a student during 2017/18) were considered and dealt with appropriately.

"The 2018 investigation (progressed under the Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct and Disciplinary policies in force at that time) examined photographic and other evidence and took statements from a number of staff and students.

"Our records show that these processes were completed in full, a formal outcome letter was provided alongside an offer of wellbeing support and the opportunity to appeal."

The university went on to add "a number of new allegations" about staff actions have been made online, and that "any and all such accusations" will be subject to "a thorough investigation".

"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.

"Racism is real, unjust and entirely unacceptable and as such Lancaster University wants to be part of the solution. Like many other universities, we have proactively implemented a number of policies and initiatives to reflect our true community values and to support every single member of our university."

"However, if one person claims to have experienced racism on our campus then this is unacceptable and we will redouble our efforts in response. We offer our heartfelt apologies to anyone in that position and strongly encourage them to report incidents either through the Student Conduct Officer or anonymously via the Unisafe app, or to the Police," the spokesperson continued.

They concluded by saying they will act when incidents are reported to them, and will "learn and improve" if they "fall short in upholding their values.

"We aspire to be an inclusive community where all of our members are treated with dignity and respect. Anyone experiencing racism on campus will receive our full support," they said.

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