Nottinghamshire police have arrested two 18-year old men on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences, after a video of a black student at Nottingham Trent University being racially abused went viral on social media.

Rufaro Chisango, an 18 year-old first year student at NTU, tweeted the video on Monday evening in which chants of “we hate the blacks” can be heard outside of her bedroom door at Sandby halls of residence. Another young woman can be heard telling the perpetrators to “leave her alone”, but the abuse continued.

She later told Victoria Derbyshire that the chants made her feel “really shocked, isolated, and uncomfortable”, and stressed that “it shouldn’t be tolerated at all”. She also noted that “it shouldn’t have [taken] such a long delay when I reported something like this”, given the fact that NTU was informed of the incident on Wednesday, even though Rufaro alerted her halls of residence on Tuesday.

The university released a statement that echoed Rufaro’s sentiments, first expressing it was “shocked and appalled” to see the video, and to state that it was investigating both the incident itself and “why the university was only alerted to this on Wednesday evening after this was reported to them in the very early hours of Tuesday”. The University has suspended the “suspected perpetrators”, pending inquiries.

Rufaro has received support from the likes of Labour MP David Lammy, who commended her “utmost bravery in speaking out”, and NUS officer Ilymas Nagdee added that this was an example of the “common” racism experienced by students all over the country on a  day to day basis.

Another example of the kind of abuse faced by students of colour (Source: Faramade Ifaturoti)

Indeed, anyone interested in truly supporting students of colour in this type of ordeal must understand that this isn’t an isolated incident, but is symptomatic of a wider social problem.  In April 2016, Faramade Ifaturoti, a biomedical student at the University of Warwick, had a flatmate scribble ‘monkey’ and ‘nigger’ on the skin of her bananas. Warwick Students’ Union released a statement “unequivocally condemn[ed]” the incident, but Ifaturoti expressed her displeasure that it took “a Twitter escalation” of a trending hashtag of #WeStandWithFara before the university responded.

As for the perpetrators, they must have the book thrown at them, hopefully in the form of expulsion from the university, as a proper deterrent to stop other students suffering in the manner Rufaro did. Social integration is an invaluable aspect of the university experience, and racist abuse in one’s accommodation will obviously damage that. The perpetrators must be named and shamed, in what would be a proportionate response to the trauma induced on Rufaro, and also an example of what should be the social cost of racism.