THE University of Glasgow has been labelled "institutionally racist" by a former rector.

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar believes the West End hub has ignored the concerns of students and failed to tackle discrimination on campus.

Mr Anwar's accusations come after a report found half of ethnic minority learners had been racially harassed and staff from BAME backgrounds had suffered "coded forms" of abuse.

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Mr Anwar, who served as rector - one of the most senior posts at the university - between 2017 and 2020, said: "This report is a damning indictment of the failures of senior management to tackle racism to date.

"In my three years as rector I had raised concerns about the racism and discrimination faced by our students and staff. Yet, there was little or no action taken and more often than not my experience was one of abject denial.

"Let me blunt. The University of Glasgow is institutionally racist and that can be seen on so many levels, including the lack of diversity on staff."

In the Understanding Racism, Transforming University Cultures report, 500 students and 20 members of staff shared their experiences of abuse on campus. 

As well as the headline figures, it found: 50% of learners had been harassed between two and five times, while one in 20 had reported more than 20 separate incidents; students lacked confidence in reporting structures and feared reprisals from staff; more than 25% of ethnic minority students said the university had a "serious problem" with racism; the hub had increased its ethnic minority employment but was still out of alignment with Glasgow's ethnic minority population. 

Its publication came just two years after the university began work on “significant” reparative measures for historical links to slavery. 

Mr Anwar added: "How barbaric to find in this report that a staff member called a black b*****d, on complaining to their line manager is asked what they did to make that person say that. I heard a lot worse."

"There is no point in dealing with the guilt of profiteering from slavery if you don’t deal with racism happening today."Glasgow Times: Principal Anton Muscatelli issued an apology yesterday Principal Anton Muscatelli issued an apology yesterday

On Wednesday, principal Anton Muscatelli apologised and launched an action plan to tackle abuse on campus.

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He said: "The report is a very difficult read and outlines challenging experiences of racism or racial injustice. 

“On behalf of the University of Glasgow, I want to apologise unreservedly to my colleagues and our students who have been impacted by racism or racial injustice while working or studying here. 

“I want to also recognise the detrimental impact these experiences have had on inclusion, your wellbeing and your sense of belonging – for a university which prides itself on its values and reputation this is unacceptable.

"We are determined to use this report as a catalyst to effect change. Already through the university’s leadership team in collaboration with colleagues and students we have begun to implement the report’s action plan. We hope that all our staff and students will join us as active participants in driving through these necessary changes. 

“While we recognise that tackling racism remains a problem for society at large, to be the institution we aspire to be, the university is clear that we must act and act decisively."