A group of black Newcastle University students have been subject to racist abuse in an incident at Manor Bank accommodation.
On Wednesday 27 February a group of Newcastle students were on their way out for the evening when they had racial slurs shouted at them by another group of students leaning out of an accommodation window.
In a video uploaded to Instagram, a girl identified as Ellena Robinson can be heard shouting “you’re not from here”, “you don’t belong here” and “fuck off” to students on the street below the window. An male, who cannot be seen in the video, can also be heard shouting “fucking n****r”.
Two of the people involved in shouting the racial slurs have been identified as Northumbria University students. The girl in the video identified on social media as Ellena Robinson is a student at Newcastle College who was visiting them on the night the incident occured.
The video was posted on Instagram on Wednesday by a girl identified on social media as Amber Wood, who captioned the clip “Go on @ellenarobinsonn”. It then began circulating on Instagram, with other students sharing it and calling out the people shouting abuse in the video.
The girl identified and the Northumbria students began shouting racial abuse at the group of black students from the accommodation window
Yasmyn Ntega, a second-year Newcastle University student, shared the clip on her Instagram story alongside a message stating: “My friends were about to go out then this flat starts throwing eggs at them out of nowhere and start shouting, making racist comments.” “This is whats wrong with some people” “At this age people are still coming at black people for what?”
Following this, Ellena Robinson sent Yasmyn a message over Instagram in which she said: “I understand this video is awful!” In her message she said that she takes “full responsibility” for her actions.
She also told Yasmyn: “I have several black friends who I love and I would never intentionally disrespect them in any way”. “I do not know what came over me in the slightest I am extremely disgusted with myself, just as my friends are also with themselves too.”
In response to Yasmyn’s reply asking for an account of “what exactly happened”, Ellena said “one of my friends was at the window having a cigarette and saw a couple of people and he said quickly pass me an egg”.
In these messages Ellena went on to claim that after the egg was thrown and hit one of the students on the street, they came upstairs to the flat and banged on the door. She wrote in her message to Yasmyn that she was “shouting” at them “to leave” through the door.
It was after they went back downstairs and out onto the street that Ellena and the Northumbria students began shouting racial abuse at the group of black students from the accommodation window, as can be seen and heard on the video.
"I hope that an appropriate response will be given so that students in this city don’t feel afraid to simply walk on the street.”
The incident has also received attention on Twitter. On Thursday 28 February @FloManning Tweeted: “Last night my sister and friends had eggs thrown at them, were racially abused and were told “they don’t belong here” because they’re black.” Northumbria University responded to this Tweet on Friday 1 March saying “We’d like to reassure you that we take reports of hate crime extremely seriously and will investigate this immediately.”
Chris Wilkinson, Newcastle’s Racial Equality Officer, told The Courier his perspective on the incident: “In light of the news that the offenders involved in this incident are not actually Newcastle Students, the University and the Union are unfortunately more limited in how they can respond to this. But this does not make this racist offence any less serious, abhorrent, or problematic.
“I will be contacting both Northumbria University and Newcastle College to press on for something to be done, and I hope that an appropriate response will be given so that students in this city don’t feel afraid to simply walk on the street.”
Following Wednesday’s events, Chris Wilkinson also encouraged Newcastle University students to attend the Stand Up to Racism conference, which took place on Saturday 2 March in the Students’ Union.