Two weeks ago a student of Reutgers University in the US jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. Allegedly, his privacy had been violated by his roommates, who had installed a hidden camera in his bedroom and filmed him having sex with another man. Afterwards, they posted the images on the Internet. Following this horrible event, several US Senators have proposed the passing of legislation aimed at protecting students from harassment and bullying in university campuses.
Cases such as this one highlight the importance of critically researching the experiences of minority groups in universities’ spaces. In a forthcoming article for Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Peter Hopkins (2010) calls for more research focusing on the social and spatial relations which characterize university campuses, and their geographies of power, discrimination, resistance and subversion. In this case, the author presents the findings of a project conducted with Muslim students in a UK university and discusses the different ways in which the participants constructed the university campus as both a tolerant and discriminatory place. This type of research is essential in order to inform the creation of more inclusive and non-discriminatory educational spaces, which can foster tolerance, respect and understanding.
Read Peter Hopkins (2010) “Towards critical geographies of the university campus: understanding the contested experiences of Muslim students”. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. [Early view]