Half of ethnic minority students at the University of Glasgow have suffered harassment on campus, according to a survey.

The findings come in a report which aims to tackle the problem, prompted by a study from the Equality and Human Rights Commission into racial harassment faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students and staff at UK universities.

The Glasgow report also found ethnic minority workers at the university tend to have experienced “coded forms” of abuse, which cause a “corrosive and scarring effect” on physical and mental health.

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More than a quarter of ethnic minority students who took part in the survey said the university has a serious problem with racism.

Half reported being harassed between two and five times since beginning their studies, while one in 20 students reported more than 20 separate incidents of harassment.

A reluctance to report such incidents was partly blamed on a lack of confidence they would be treated seriously – combined with a fear of reprisals.

The report outlines a number of steps to tackle the issue, including committing senior management to publicly take an anti-racist approach to processes and systems.

It also recommends devising and developing pre-entry courses for staff and students on acceptable behaviour.

University of Glasgow principal Sir Anton Muscatelli said: “The report is a very difficult read and outlines challenging experiences of racism or racial injustice.

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“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.”

Around 500 students took part in the survey and in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 ethnic minority workers to ask them about their experience of racism while studying or working at the university.