Diversity is key at the University of Cumbria it has been claimed, after a report found an “alarmingly high rate” of racial harassment is taking place in British universities.

Across the UK, at least 24 per cent of ethnic minority students questioned said they have experienced racial harassment on campus, according to the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

It said many universities are unaware of the scale of the problem, as well as being over-confident in their ability to respond to it.

The EHRC interviewed students and staff, and surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 students. As many as 44 per cent of international students asked said they had experienced racist abuse, yet 77 per cent said they had not reported it to their institution.

Michelle Leek, the University of Cumbria’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, said: “We believe there is no place for racial harassment at the University of Cumbria and we welcome the recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

“Alongside all higher education institutions nationally, we will study its findings closely, working with our colleagues at Universities UK to take any necessary action required.

“We have a lot of things already in place to make sure all of our campuses are inclusive and safe for students and staff.

“Over the last 12 months, in partnership with Cumbria Police, we have delivered training sessions in hate crime awareness to our staff in Carlisle and Ambleside.”