Devon and Cornwall has seen a dramatic increase in racially or religiously aggravated crimes within the past three months.
With 220 reported hate crimes in Devon and Cornwall, the aftermath of Brexit has seen cases such as assault, anti-Semitism and racial abuse rise by 63%.
In one example, last week students at Exeter University were seen wearing t-shirts printed with anti-Semitic insults, and swastikas were carved into the doors of Birks Grange halls of residence.
We spoke to the publicity director of Exeter’s Jewish society, Mark Kiner to find out his reaction to the incident.
He said: “We’re definitely supported by the Guild, but by the university we’re yet to see any sort of reaction. It needs to adopt a common definition of anti-Semitism which it doesn’t currently have. It means that whenever something anti-Semitic happens we hit a hall where there is no actual definition of the word. We find it both ridiculous and offensive that we would have to vote on a definition of anti-Semitism”.
A 2016 report states that 70% of Exeter University’s student body is white. Susannah Keogh, news editor of Exeposé, Exeter’s student news website said that this “obviously marginalises already marginalised student groups further”.
In response to the anti-Semitic incidents that occurred at Exeter University, an anti-fascist march through Exeter campus has been organised for students to show solidarity.
Hate crimes rising in Devon and Cornwall has come as no surprise with their relaxed views on what counts as racism. The Cornwall 2011 census showed 98.2 per cent of the Cornish population identified as ‘white’. Therefore, is the idea of ethnic diversity a scary thought for locals?
We spoke to Rohin Shah, originally from North London and now studying at Exeter’s Penryn Campus, Rohin is a British/Asian male.
He said: “I have to confess I’ve never had any racial abuse back home whereas since coming to uni I’ve experienced it first-hand a lot more”.
He spoke about his experiences in an article for The Tab Falmouth last year, you can read the full article here: http://thetab.com/uk/falmouth/2016/06/01/the-life-of-an-asian-student-living-in-cornwall-72
If you are a victim of a hate crime, you can access support at www.safercornwall.co.uk/hatecrime
Watch Scarlet Bennetts video about the rise of hate crime here: