Two men have been arrested after a black university student complained that a group of people subjected her to racist abuse in her hall of residence.
The 18-year-olds have been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences are in custody, Nottinghamshire police said on Thursday. Officers began an investigation after Rufaro Chisango, a student at Nottingham Trent University, posted a video on Wednesday in which a group of men can be heard chanting: “We hate the blacks,” and “sign the Brexit papers”.
“Words cannot describe how sad this makes me feel, in this 2018 people think this is still acceptable,” she wrote on Twitter.
Later, she told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme the alleged abuse had a “big impact” on her, leaving her feeling shocked and isolated. “I just want the appropriate action to be taking place. Obviously it’s racial abuse. It should not be tolerated at all.”
On Thursday, Chisango said she had reported the incident to the university, which is investigating “as a matter of urgency”.
On the footage, a group of men can be heard chanting “ooh-aah, fuck the blacks”, “we hate the blacks” and “sign the Brexit papers”.
in response, some people try to shout them down. A woman asks the men if they “understand there is a girl who is black in there”. The men are told to “leave her alone” and a woman can be heard saying “we hate white people” in response to the men’s sustained abuse.
The footage, which shows only the closed door of a bedroom, also captures the sound of one voice shouting: “The blacks and the whites all together,” and “I have a dream”, in a reference to the speech delivered by Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
“Black and white will never be together,” a man is heard to say.
Chisango said the video did not catch other phrases the men shouted, such as “blacks would go back to picking cotton”. She wrote on Twitter: “I’m the only black person on my floor and they were chanting this outside my door, so don’t be surprised to why I didn’t leave my room.”
The Labour MP David Lammy said he was “absolutely horrified” by the footage. He added: “My heart breaks for this young woman and I have the utmost respect for her bravery in speaking out.
“The university and the police must urgently investigate this incident and the perpetrators have clearly jeopardised their future at the university.”
Nottingham Trent University said: “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.
“Those suspected perpetrators have been suspended immediately pending a full investigation. We have contacted the student who made the complaint and are providing support to her and others affected. And we are liaising with the police about this incident.
“We value being a diverse global community, with staff and students from across the world.”
Chisango complained that even though the incident took place on Monday and was reported to the hall of residence management immediately, the university did not take action for two days. The institution said the complaint was not passed on until Wednesday and it was looking into why.