CHECKIT HE – Countering Hate and Extremism on Campus

CHECKIT-HE aims to enhance the higher education (HE) sector's response to hate and extremism on HE campuses by building capacity, knowledge and skills, bringing together innovative projects and practices within the field.

A higher education tutor discussing hate and extremism with a student.

Full project details 

Project Reference number: 2020-1-UK01-KA203-079198

Start date: 01-09-2020

End date: 31-08-2023

Eu Grant:  361.743,00

Full project title 

CHECKIT HE – Countering Hate and Extremism on Campus – Knowledge Innovation and Training in Higher Education

Researchers

Research background

CHECKIT HE aims to enhance HE response to hate and extremism on HEI campuses, by building capacity, knowledge and skills, bringing together innovative projects and practices in the field. CHECKIT HE, will help HE educators, wider HE staff, policy makers and students unions, as our key target groups, to enhance inclusion, challenge hate and extremism and make campuses safer and better places for all.

The CHECKIT HE consortium is made up of teams from:

  • Birmingham City University, UK
  • Necmettin Erbakan Üniversitesi, Turkey
  • The Western Balkans Institute, Serbia; Minho University, Portugal
  • The Centre for Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology, Cyprus
  • Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland

These partners represent a strong geographical reach and engagement in networks across Europe and also are from countries that experience diverse HE student demographics and campus based hate and extremism.

They are a dedicated team who want CHECKIT HE to positively support change in relation to identify, preventing and acting against hate and extremism in all its forms.

Research aims

Studenthood should be a time of academic, personal/skills growth, development and positive change, but, sadly, Student Union Reports across Europe, show that students face increasing hate-based abuse, hate speech, risks from radicalisation and extremism on campuses.

Some students are more likely to be targets of hate and extremism than others, such as those from Black, Asian and Ethnic minority groups (including refugees and migrants), women, LGBT communities, people of various religions and disabled people. Examples of hate on campus, can include hate speech, cyber abuse, physical abuse and violence, gendered abuse, bullying and active exclusion.

Extremism can be seen in patterns of formal, organised extremist organisation activity on campuses, radicalisation and violence, especially around right wing hate, Islamophobia and antisemitism. These are challenging issues for higher education and societies. CHECKIT HE responds and innovates by addressing the issues of hate practices/behaviour and extremism within HEI communities and providing tools for HEI staff to identify, challenge and counter these when exhibited on campus.

HEIs should be leading the way in addressing these important issues, which impact upon wider societies too. Indeed, some are, but practices and innovations are not being shared effectively. Collated and broadly disseminated innovative mechanisms by which HEIs can counter hate and exclusion, and provision of pan-European easy access training resources, are not currently available.

CHECKIT HE directly addresses this contemporary issue, which is vital for the development, diversity, skills capacity building of all HEIs. HE staff need to be able to understand, identify, check, challenge and take action against hate and exclusions and this is what the outputs, outcomes and impact of the CHECKIT HE project are designed to support.

The project outputs build to help HE and other stakeholders to challenge hate and extremism and these include: a report, six up-to-the-minute training toolkits on addressing diverse forms of hate and extremism and an app that can be used to identify and then select strategies and activities to counter these.

The outputs are free and open access, enabling a wide variety of groups and individuals outside HEIs, Students organisations and policy makers, to use them to enhance their own work countering hate and extremism (this might include a wide range of NGOs, criminal justice practitioners, public authorities, schools, colleges, other non-degree level educational institutions and the broad-ranging EU youth workforce).

CHECKIT HE aims to directly engage 135,000 people, as target groups and stakeholders, across the three years of the project, making a high impact contribution to helping to challenge hate and extremism in HE and beyond.

The tolerance of hate and extremism on campus for HEIs can lead to social exclusion, distress and mental health issues, lower attainment in targeted groups, drop out of education and inequality in life chances post-graduation, which is bad for students and for HEIs. However, these negative impacts are also a problem for the health and sustainability of wider society, in preventing the spread of hate and extremism and ensuring public safety.

CHECKIT HE will deliver longer term benefits for all, in relation to helping prevent hate, radicalisation and terrorism and by HEIs leading in the positive promotion of societal inclusion and tolerance.

Results and intended outcomes

The team have produced  CHECKIT-HE Report on Hate and Extremism on University campuses in the UK, Cyprus, Finland, Turkey, Serbia and Portugal on University campuses in the UK, Cyprus, Finland, Turkey, Serbia and Portugal.

In order to help address issues of hate, extremism, and inequality on campuses, the teams have created a variety of toolkits which address a range of topics. These toolkits can be found by following the below links. 

  • Toolkit 1 -   Identifying and Challenging Gender Based Hatred and Extremism on Tertiary Education Campuses
  • Toolkit 2 - Tackling sexual identity-based hate, abuse and extremism in higher education
  • Toolkit 3 - Dealing with campus based Race, Ethnic Group and Heritage-related hate and extremist action
  • Toolkit 4 – Religion, faith and belief-based hate and abuse in HEI campuses
  • Toolkit 5 - Disability, chronic illness and mental health state based hate on campus
  • Toolkit 6 - Working against formally organised extremism, radicalisation and terrorism on HE campuses

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