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Academic studies

What allowances around studies will be made if I am directly affected by these events? 

If you are directly affected by the events in the Middle East and this has an impact on your ability to focus on your studies at this time, please talk to your course leader or a member of your academic department who will be able to offer support and advice.

I’m personally affected by events in the Middle East, and I don’t think I will be able to sit exams/submit assessments. Can I pause my studies?  

If you find yourself unable to sit exams or submit your assessments due to the current situation, you should discuss the matter with your Department and College. We will work with you to look at the possibility of suspending your studies and ensure you have access to any relevant support. 

Our departments can also provide extenuating circumstances support to students who experience sudden, unexpected difficulties that may affect your performance at assessment.  

If I suspend my studies, how long can I suspend them for?  

Suspension of studies is normally for one year, but it may be possible for this to be extended further if circumstances require it. Discussions will need to be had with your Department and College and we will continue to support you as much as possible.

When is the latest I can suspend my studies?  

You can suspend your studies at any point during the academic year. It is always better to inform your Department and College as soon as possible if you wish to do this, or even if you are thinking of suspending your studies. 

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What emotional and mental health support is available if I’m affected? 

You can contact: 

Our Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) has worked with colleagues and partners to offer support and advice. Our University Chaplaincy Service and Durham Students’ Union have directly contacted student groups likely to be most affected by the events in the Middle East. The University’s Lead Chaplain and our Pro-Vice-Chancellor EDI have personally met with affected students and will remain in regular contact with them. 

Details of all support available can be found on our student support hub (internal access only): Student Support Hub

Will there be any financial assistance available if I’m affected by the events? 

If you face financial difficulty as a direct result of the conflict, we encourage you to speak with your College to discuss your issue. If you’re in unexpected financial need with living costs, you can find more details on the financial support webpages.  

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Safety, security and reporting

What is the University doing to ensure my safety?

We have been in contact with affected students – both individuals and relevant societies and associations – and always respond to feedback swiftly. 

We take reports of bullying and harassment, hate incidents and abuse seriously.  
We have robust risk assessment procedures for any planned events on campus. We have an emergency response plan to prepare for and deal with any incidents and we work closely with local police. 

What is being done to prevent hate crime / prejudice/ discrimination on campus? 

Our priority is your safety and wellbeing. We encourage and expect respectful behaviours from everyone in our community. Our Race Equality Charter action plan contains a number of actions designed to tackle racism, including through educational talks, training and informative events and activities throughout the academic year on racial and intercultural issues.   

How can I report an incident?

You can use our online ‘Report and Support’ tool to report an incident or seek support or speak to your College support office. 

We also have a network of advisors who can provide support in cases of bullying, harassment or other causes for concern. They act as a first point of contact for those who feel they have experienced a hate incident. 

What can I do in the moment if I witness or am subject to a hate crime? 

If a hate crime is in progress on campus and immediate action is required, our SafeZone app enables you to send an emergency alert if anyone is in danger.

The app is free to download and as a user you will be directly connected to the University security team who will find and assist you as quickly as possible when an emergency alert is issued. Off campus, SafeZone will connect you directly to the emergency services. 

You can also contact University Security directly on +44 (0)191 334 2222. 

What action will be taken in the event of such incidents? 

We do not tolerate any form of prejudice or discrimination and will take swift action. We condemn in the strongest possible terms any incidents targeting individuals or groups for their religious, political, or cultural beliefs. Any criminal matters will be reported to the Police. 

We have stringent policies in place to deal with any incidents reported, including our Non-Academic Misconduct procedure.

We also have an emergency response plan to prepare for and deal with any incidents. 

What advice is being given to enable debate and discussion on campus which remains within the law? 

As a university community, we uphold freedom of speech within the law and expect and require all our community to do so.  

We encourage the pursuit of knowledge and the exchange of ideas, but this must be done in a tolerant manner. Anything less will not be accepted. As set out in our Code of Practice, any activity, including meetings, demonstrations or the distribution of materials, must be notified in writing to the University Secretary at least seven days before the activity is due to take place.  

Our response is in line with our legal and compliance requirements, including the Prevent Duty, Government guidelines and our own Purpose and Core Lived Values.  

Are there any other sources of support if I experience discrimination?

Our Anti-Semitism Support Guide provides useful information for responding to experiences of Anti-Semitism and details support available for our Jewish Students.

The Community Security Trust (CST) has published a number of resources on their social media feeds, including guidance on how to communicate about Israel in a non-antisemitic way. CST also has a national emergency number which should be used to report antisemitic attacks, alongside contacting the police via 999: 0800 032 3263.  

Tell Mama is a confidential support service for those suffering from anti-Muslim hate and discrimination across the UK. Their website features a number of different ways to report anti-Muslim incidents, including via phone or WhatsApp.