Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:51 UK

University in 'Oriental' race row

Glyndwr University sign
The university said it attracted many students from overseas

A woman has accused a university of racism after she said she was told an accountancy course might not be suitable for "Oriental people".

Odgerel Hatenboer, 33, originally from Mongolia, said she was appalled at the comments by a staff member at an open day at Glyndwr University, Wrexham.

She then said her application was not passed on for consideration.

The university said it did not tolerate racism and has apologised for misplacing the application form.

Mrs Hatenboer, a married mother of one, has lived in the UK for seven years and moved to Gwersyllt, Wrexham, several months ago.

It's been a very shocking experience and it shouldn't happen - the university has to learn that we're in the 21st Century

Odgerel Hatenboer

She has a masters in development economics from the University of Manchester and holds a diploma from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

She attended an open day at Glyndwr - formerly North East Wales Institute, or Newi, which became Wales' newest university earlier this year - with the hope of enrolling for an accountancy course.

However, she said she was told the course might not be suitable for "people like you, Oriental people".

She said: "The man said something like 'I'm not saying you're Chinese but people like you, Oriental people, tend to accept what is written in the books and what the lecturer says, whereas this kind of course is nothing like you have studied in the past, it requires more analytical skills, you will have to do more yourself."


She added: "Certainly this was a racist comment. How else can you take it?

"I'm not the sort of person who makes things up, this is exactly what he said.

"This didn't happen on the street or in a shop, this happened in a university which is supposed to be multi-racial institution with educated people.

"I think it's outrageous. I can not believe it happened. It's appalling that a member of staff commented on an individual because of their race.

"He didn't even ask about my background or qualifications."

The university is very proud of, and values, the multicultural nature of its student population

Glyndwr University

Mrs Hatenboer completed the application form anyway and said she was told it would be passed on to the relevant department and she would hear from the university within a week.

However, when she checked on her application some time later, she discovered it had not been received, and made a formal complaint.

She said: "I don't want anyone else to go through what I've had to go through.

"It's been a very shocking experience and it shouldn't happen. The university has to learn that we're in the 21st Century."

Dr Thomas Moore, director of policy and projects, said the university did not tolerate any form of racist behaviour.

'Human error'

He said the university had taken "appropriate action", had responded promptly and launched a thorough investigation, but could not comment further on "the detail".

He added: "Glyndwr University takes very seriously its responsibilities to applications.

"The university has apologised that due to human error Mrs Hatenboer's application form was misplaced at the open day.

"A robust method of managing applications has been revisited to ensure these are issued, logged and filed centrally by our admissions team.

"We are disappointed that Mrs Hatenboer remains dissatisfied with the outcome despite prompt action to clarify the matter.

"The university is very proud of, and values, the multicultural nature of its student population and has enjoyed considerable success in attracting students from across the world."

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