The University of Kent is investigating a "deeply disturbing" social media post of two young men carrying out a re-enactment of George Floyd's arrest.
The footage of him lying under the knee of a US policeman shortly before he died has sparked worldwide protests.
The university said it did not "tolerate racism in any form and is taking this matter very seriously".
Kent Police said it was carrying out inquiries to determine whether any criminal offences had been committed.
In a statement it said it was aware of an image on social media "purporting to show young people in Canterbury acting inappropriately".
One male holding a can of drink can be seen kneeling on the neck of another person in the picture, which bears the caption "£justiceforgeorgefloyd".
Student union president Sasha Langeveldt condemned the image, saying: "As the first black woman to be elected as students' union president, it is my duty to ensure the university is a fair and equal place, or at least challenge it whenever necessary.
"It has been brought to my attention that there is an extremely distressing photo circulating around social media."
She reassured students of the union's zero-tolerance policy towards racism and said she was following up the matter with the university.
Mr Floyd died on 25 May after being detained by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Footage showed a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck for several minutes while he was pinned to the ground.
Mr Floyd was heard repeatedly saying "I can't breathe".
Mr Chauvin has been charged with murder.