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Remaining a place of sanctuary during outbreak

The spread of the coronavirus transcends boundaries and identities. It affects people regardless of their nationality, gender, age, socio-economic standing, political loyalties or citizenship status.

Yet reports are increasing that coronavirus concerns are being used to harass individuals on the basis of their perceived nationality. As part of the University of Sanctuary and Changing the Culture initiatives at UEA, it is clear that such hostile attitudes which target members of particular communities and present them as a “threat”, are racist and completely unacceptable. 

As a University of Sanctuary, UEA is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, and it is the spirit of sanctuary – not fear and anger – that is most needed in these uncertain times. Even though we must re-adjust our social routines, we must not lose our sense of compassion and openness to others, as otherwise we would find ourselves on a slippery slope to growing intolerance and many more types of exclusion. Coronavirus does not discriminate, it affects us all, and we have to respond as one – we are all in this together.

If you or someone you know has experienced verbal or non-verbal harassment, please report this to Report and Support on the UEA website. If you would like to find out more about the University of Sanctuary initiative, please visit the website or contact them at university.of.sanctuary@uea.ac.uk.