Latest news about ethical consumerism


Britain’s world-class universities must #StopFundingHate

Nov 9

Written by:
09/11/2017 11:54  RssIcon

Guest Blog: Richard Wilson from Stop Funding Hate

With experts warning that our media is fuelling hate crime on our streets, more and more advertisers are thinking about the social impact of their marketing.  

Last week, Derby University confirmed that they had stopped advertising on the Daily Mail website to make sure that their brand does not appear alongside “content which contradicts [their] values”. This follows a similar move by Oxford University's Said Business School to stop online ads with the Sun.

Universities are often leaders on positive inclusion policies - and work hard to ensure that students of all backgrounds are able to study at their institutions.

So it’s right that they are now beginning to lead the way in advertising ethically – and ensuring that they do not fund media coverage that may put their students at risk.


Research highlights issue


According to journalist Liz Gerard last year the Daily Mail and the Express published 1,768 pages of coverage about migrants between them. Almost all were negative – suggesting a problem of serious institutionalised discrimination.  

Academics are already among those highlighting the link between hostile headlines and rising hate crime. In 2016 Leicester University’s Centre for Hate Studies  warned that a surge in hate crime against migrants had been “fuelled and legitimised… by the media”. Professor Neil Chakraborti said that a “toxic climate” had been created which had given ordinary people “a political mandate to blame those who are different for society’s ills”.

Meanwhile the University of Cambridge found that “reporting by the mainstream media about Muslim communities is contributing to an atmosphere of rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain”.


Attracting the brightest and the best

Students and university staff come from diverse backgrounds. To keep attracting the brightest and the best to study at our world-class universities it is important that everyone in an educational institution feels respected regardless of nationality, race, religion, asylum status, gender, sexuality, or whether or not they are disabled.

Universities have highlighted how the perception of Britain as an increasingly xenophobic country is making it harder and harder to recruit from abroad. The desire to reassure and welcome international students has led to the creation of the #WeAreInternational campaign, now backed by over 100 universities.

“International students are an integral part of the university community. Their contributions to the character and culture of our campus is absolutely what university is about,” says Yousef El-T, Vice-President, Kings College London Students Union.

“Sadly, when universities fund publications that have headlines like these, it undermines a lot of the things they allegedly stand for, as well as sending the wrong message to students. We should be investing in inclusive learning environments and not in things which will divide us.”

The team behind the #WeAreInternational campaign has also highlighted the “raw xenophobic comments [of the] tabloids”. Writing in the Times Higher Education supplement, Professor Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor of Sheffield University, said: “the fact remains that UK universities overseas hear admiration for the quality of our education mingled with nagging questions: Will my child be welcome? Will he or she be safe?” Easily accessible abusive content from our tabloids online does nothing to quell these fears


Standing up to hate

A free society depends on a media we can trust - which treats everyone fairly, regardless of background.

If enough advertisers like the University of Derby show that they are not prepared to fund this content, the profit motive for newspapers to publish alarmist, anti-minority stories will be outweighed by the critical mass of advertisers unwilling to fund this material.

Students are already backing Stop Funding Hate, with the National Union of Students promoting our new video competition.

It is time for universities to stand beside them, and ensure that they are not spending their own students’ fees on content that incites abuse against them.



Hear Richard's presentation on Stop Funding Hate at our annual conference >









Full News Archive


Ethical news archive going back to July 2009.

Read More