Students from northern England facing ‘toxic attitude’ at Durham University

Nazia Parveen:

Students from northern England are being ridiculed over their accents and backgrounds at one of the country’s leading universities, and even forced out, according to a report compiled by a Durham student.

Lauren White, 20, is demanding action after interviews with fellow northern students at Durham revealed a “toxic attitude” towards them from some peers and tutors. Its vice-chancellor said her report highlighted unacceptable behaviours at odds with the university’s values and that the findings would be looked into.

Last year a freedom of information request revealed that on average 7.8% of graduates over the last five years from Durham University – one of the country’s best-rated institutions – were from the north-east England.

Two years ago, White, who grew up 15 miles from Durham and is in her third year, found herself in this minority. She said discrimination and ridiculing of her local roots began almost immediately.

“At first when they mocked and mimicked my accent, I sort of went along with it, even laughed, but then when I persistently became the butt of jokes about coalmining and started to get called feral because I was local it started to feel malicious,” she said.