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Response to newspaper article, published Friday, February 19.

Posted 20 February

This article is both shocking to and deeply disheartening for the University, which despises all aspects of intolerance, including those related to race, sexuality or dietary preference.

These claims do not represent the experience of the vast majority of students at Harper Adams University. Any issues related to intolerance of any form that are reported to staff, or our staff are made aware of, are dealt with immediately in light of the serious impact these acts have on our student family.

When approached by the journalist, we were presented with a long list of claims about specific incidents, which we checked against student services records. Not one of them had been reported and so therefore the University was unable to investigate at the time.

These are very serious allegations, which if reported, we have robust protocols to address.

We always encourage any individual to come forward with any concerns no matter how large or small, which will be duly dealt with and the individual supported. However, we are unable to act on historic allegations when the individuals concerned have left the University and so can not be investigated fully and duly acted upon.

It is disappointing that some former students did not report these allegations at the time of their study so the matter could have been fully investigated and individuals supported.

Sanctions are issued where misconduct is witnessed or reported, investigated and proven. With such a small student population, we are not in a position to report on sanctions because we would risk identifying people and thus breaching data protection regulations. But fines are issued, individuals banned from social events, community service is completed and, where necessary, individuals are removed from the university.

Our disciplinary policy is publicly available on the website.

Our mission is to educate and inform - encouraging respect for all, encouraging bystander intervention when injustice is observed, encouraging understanding and evidence-based decision making, encouraging every member of our community to be the change they want to see.

Every university, indeed everywhere people from a range of backgrounds are brought together, faces tensions. It is simply untrue to claim that our dedicated staff ignores this or we preferentially support one group or one view. Indeed, many of our colleagues have been personally affected by this article and its claims.

We want them to know that we are proud of their efforts, their care and especially the extraordinary lengths they have gone to over the last year in particular to support our students. We have made significant strides in behaviour management over the last decade driven by inclusivity and respect for all.

We would urge anyone reading the article to do their own fact-finding and to speak to a wider range of students about their experiences of Harper Adams University and the overwhelmingly positive view and regards that our student family has for the University and their experience, as exemplified in our leading student experience ratings.

However, we will never rest on our laurels and constantly seek improvement to support our inclusive student family and seek out injustice.

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