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North Durham students claim they are "constantly ridiculed"


Durham University students in northern England are "constantly mocked" for their local accents and face a "toxic culture," a report said.

A study of a Newcastle-born Durham student found evidence of “prejudice and discrimination” and even physical abuse against students from the north.

One man alleged that a classmate put a cigarette on his hand after hearing that he had attended a local state school.

Another claimed that a classmate told her, "I hate all northerners." while hearing students refer to sleeping with local people as "rolling in the dirt".

Newcastle Durham student Lauren White said she wrote the report after being inundated with messages of support after writing about her experience of discrimination

A young woman stopped by the Durham University building on Thursday last week

A young woman stopped by the Durham University building last Thursday Thursday

The report comes weeks after a prospective student withdrew his Durham offer after "hideous" news emerged that appeared to show young men joking about drinking women's beverages and trying to sleep with the poorest students.

Third year Newcastle's Lauren White said she was forced to produce the report after being inundated with messages of support after writing in the Gateshead newspaper B ** p about her experience of discrimination at university.

What did northern students say about Durham in the study?

  • “I left Durham in February 2019 after only five months because I found it to be elitist. I come from a working class Gateshead family and have completed the Assisted Progress Program to get to Durham which I loved. But when I got to Durham it was so different from anything I had imagined. I totally agree with everything you said in your article about the accent thing, and how at first you didn't really pay attention to how people asked you to repeat things, but over time you realize that it's more than just small excavations. I literally live 20 minutes away and would walk for weeks without hearing a northern accent. & # 39;
  • “I studied Spanish translation and we had to translate things into appropriate regional accents. For example, a London accent into a Madrid accent. In each class my accent was mentioned where the instructor would make fun of it. I had to read a passage outside the classroom as an example of an unusual accent, even though I had asked not to. When I complained, I was told I had to learn to make a joke. & # 39;
  • “As a North East England student studying at Durham University, I regularly get demoted and feel like I don't belong to the university because of my accent and where I come from. On my first day of freshman week, a girl in my apartment came up to me and asked if she could get an internet connection in Durham, then said she "didn't know the north had technology". In the college dining room I was referred to as a "filthy northerner" and a "chav". During the first week of the semester, a fellow student asked me: "Are you going to take the substitute food home with you to support your family?"
  • A boy came up to me and told me I was handsome and asked my name. I replied to him and he then said, "Oh, I'm sorry I didn't realize you are northerners – aren't most northerners poor?" I then said it was a massive generalization, but also classic. Our conversation lasted about three to five minutes and ended with him saying, "You're hot and damn, but I could never take someone like you home to mom and dad."

In the article, Miss White shared how other Durham students made her feel like "an alien in my own corner of the country."

When introducing the report, she said that those she interviewed "told me how they were discriminated against because of their northern background and / or their northern accents".

She urged the university to look at the “toxic culture towards northern students”, introduce more support and enforce its “student pledge”, adding, “How can it be that Durham in North East England is not protecting so much and protects? to represent its northern students? & # 39;

In the report, a young woman from Gateshead spoke of dropping out of university after just five months "because I felt it was elitist."

A third year student who said he was ridiculed for working to earn money to graduate and banned from college bars because people refused to believe him as a student said: " As a college student from North East England studying at Durham University, I regularly get demoted and feel like I don't belong to the university because of my accent and my background.

"On my first day of freshman week, a girl in my apartment came up to me and asked if she could get an internet connection in Durham and then said that she" didn't know the north had technology ".

In the college dining room I was referred to as a "dirty northerner" and a "chav". During the first week of the semester, a fellow student asked me: "Are you going to take the substitute food home with you to support your family?"

He added: "One night I was approached by a college student who said she would sleep with me as she had a 'poverty fetish' and asked me to start a fight to impress her, as & # 39; that's what you guys do, you fight whenever you're drunk & # 39;. & # 39;

Others said they felt "rejected" because of their background; where it is said that their families must receive benefits; were accused of being "common, vulgar and illiterate"; or said their hometowns were "full of heroin addicts".

One young woman from Hartlepool said: "It is so strange to be so close to home, but when you are in Durham it sometimes feels like you are in a completely different place."

Miss White noted that many of those she contacted had come to the university through the “Assisted Progression” program, which encourages students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply, but “move on” when they arrive and ask for improvement Scheme.

Durham University Vice Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge told the Durham student newspaper Palatinate: “We believe everyone has the right to study and work in a respectful environment, where people are comfortable and thriving.

& # 39; For most staff, students, visitors and partners, the Durham University experience has been very positive, but we want to make it even better.

Durham Castle and Cathedral are pictured with the Framwellgate Bridge over the River Wear

Durham Castle and Cathedral are pictured with the Framwellgate Bridge over the River Wear

& # 39; We recently released the Durham Commission's final report on Respect, Values ​​and Conduct, which we created to better understand what it's like to study and work here and how we can make positive change.

& # 39; We are now setting up a supervisory group to monitor the implementation of the Commission's recommendations and to consider further action.

The Northern Student Experience at Durham University report highlights some behaviors that are unacceptable and totally contrary to our values ​​as a university.

"In the short time since receiving the report, Lauren and I have agreed that her report will be reviewed by the Respect Committee's oversight group and that we will meet shortly to further discuss her findings."