Anti-racism policy statement

Flinders University abhors acts of racism.

The University promotes an environment which is free from any form of illegal discrimination and acts of racism are not condoned within the University.

What is racism?
Flinders University supports cultural diversity
Consequences of racism
Are your comments or behaviours likely to cause offence?
What can you do if you experience racist behaviour?
How can you help prevent racism from occurring on campus?
Further information
About this information

What is racism?

An act of racism is any action involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on colour, descent, religion, national or ethnic origin. Racism has the effect of impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of any right or freedom available within the University.

Categories of racism include:

  • Individual racism: involves specific acts of racist behaviour by individuals or groups. This can include language or actions of a racist nature which are offensive, degrading, intimidating or embarrassing.
  • Institutional racism: describes the way that institutionsb discriminate directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, through their structures and organisations to support or maintain racism.
  • Cultural racism: involves the social production and reproduction of racist beliefs and ideas.

Commonwealth and State legislation makes racial discrimination unlawful.

Racist behaviour may occur:

  • Amongst peers - student to student or staff to staff.
  • From staff member to student or supervisor to employee.
  • From student to a staff member or employee to supervisor.
  • To or from a member of the public in the course of university business.
Examples of racial discrimination and harassment may include:
  • Verbal racist comments made in the course of lectures, classes, meetings or interviews.
  • Derogatory name calling and insults of a racist nature.
  • Written racist comments by staff or students.
  • Displays of offensive pictures, posters and graffiti.
  • Racist discrimination in access to services, education, employment and promotional opportunities.
  • Exclusion of the knowledge or experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from discipline areas to which these are relevant.

Flinders University supports cultural diversity

Flinders University is committed to creating a learning, teaching and working environment that values cultural diversity and which enables all staff and students to achieve their full potential.

Staff and students are asked to promote respect for the diverse cultural and religious values that exist in our University.

Consequences of racism

For students who experience racist behaviour

  • poor study performance
  • unfair academic results
  • absenteeism due to stress
  • withdrawal from courses or the university
  • reduced career prospects

For staff who experience racist behaviour

  • lower productivity, poor quality of work
  • low staff morale
  • absenteeism due to stress
  • unnecessary transfers or resignations

For the University

  • poor public and international image
  • low morale and decreased productivity
  • costly staff turnover
  • expensive litigation
  • loss of students

Are your comments or behaviours likely to cause offence?

Racist comments or behaviour can sometimes be unintended.

If you are not sure about any aspect which could give offence you can:

  • be sensitive to signs of discomfort
  • stop it
  • apologise, if you notice the discomfort
  • talk it over with a Contact Officer or someone who has an understanding of cultural issues.

What can you do if you experience racist behaviour?

Anyone concerned about racism on campus may approach an Ant-Racism Contact Officer on an informal basis. They will provide support and assistance as well as information on the University's Anti-Racism policy and grievance procedures.

The grievance procedures are designed to ensure that you receive a sympathetic and confidential hearing. No action will be taken unless requested by a complainant, and at all stages confidentiality will be preserved.

The grievance procedures provide you with a number of options, for example you can:

  • Tell the person concerned that you object to the behaviour and that you want it to stop.
  • Discuss the situation with an Equal Opportunity Contact Officer who has been selected and trained specifically for this purpose and who may arrange an informal or formal conciliation.
  • Speak to your supervisor or lecturer.
  • Make a formal complaint.
  • Contact your union.
  • Contact the Equal Opportunity Unit.
  • Contact the Equal Opportunity Commission.


If you experience racist behaviour keep confidential records of everything that happens. Be sure to include names, witnesses, dates and times of events.

How can you help prevent racism from occurring on campus?

Everyone can contribute to the eradication of racism on campus.

You can:

  • Promote mutual respect between individuals who come from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Openly support and promote the University's Anti-Racism policy.
  • If you observe racist behaviour speak up and name it for what it is.
  • Offer support to people who are being harassed.
  • If you are a supervisor, circulate information on the University's Anti-Racism policy and ensure that it is adhered to in your area.

Further information

Organisations on campus that can provide advice or information on cultural matters include:

About this information

Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of this brochure, its contents cannot be construed as legal advice.

Produced by the Equal Opportunity Unit,

Flinders University 2000