Anger after white people and men are banned from ‘anti-racism’ rally at British university by its own student union DIVERSITY OFFICER
- Goldsmiths University students organised meeting to ‘diversify curriculum’
- The student union’s Diversity Officer said white men were not welcome
- Organisers claims protests were becoming too ‘white and male’
- After anger over the move, organisers backed down and overturned ban
Students have hit out after white people were banned from an event supposed to be against racism.
Those studying at Goldsmiths University in south London were invited to the student union event to call on academics to ‘diversify the curriculum’.
But many were left shocked when an organiser told white people and men ‘not to come’, as it was only open to black minority ethnic (BME) women.
The University’s student union Welfare and Diversity Officer, Bahar Mustafa wrote on Facebook: ‘Invite loads of BME Women and non-binary people!!
‘Also, if you’ve been invited and you’re a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME just cos (sic) i invited a bunch of people and hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME Women and non-binary event only.’
‘Non-binary’ is a term used to describe people who do not consider themselves exclusively male or female.
A webpage set up for the event stated: ‘This meeting is for all self-defining BLACK and ETHNIC MINORITY women and non-binary people with gender identities that include ‘woman’.’
Despite the ban, the group’s demands included a call for: ‘Zero tolerance policies on all forms of prejudice, discrimination and oppression’.
The planned exclusion of white and male students sparked a backlash from some, who accused organisers of being ‘patronising beyond belief’.
One critic told student newspaper, The Tab: ‘The irony that she, or they, think that they are diversifying the student community in the name of feminism and multiculturalism is laughable.’
Organisers later appeared to back down on the ban, with the meeting’s notice later declaring: ‘Allies now welcome!’
In an apparent attempt to explain the previous ban, organisers wrote: ‘Occupations, especially in higher education, are too often dominated by white, male, and able-bodied people.
‘Our occupation was initially very white and male and therefore deterred BME and women, especially BME women, and disabled students.
‘The dynamics however did change because of the hard work of BME women and disabled students in the space challenging the white-centric culture of occupations.
‘For these reasons its important to organise around these issues which affect all students, but minority students particularly, from a point which starts with us.’
The university insists it was not involved in organising the event, which was held yesterday
A notice about the meeting later appeared to show the ban had been dropped, stating: ‘Allies now welcome!’
A spokesman for Goldsmiths said: ‘The Students’ Union is an independent body run by elected student officials and we have no involvement in their decision making or the programme of events that they offer. We have no involvement in the appointment of the student representatives.
‘We are proud of our diverse community and do not tolerate any form of oppression, including racism, sexism or any other form of bigotry.’
The Goldsmiths Students’ Union released a statement, but refused to apologise for the event which was segregated along racial and gender lines.
In a statement, they said: ‘Goldsmiths Students’ Union places huge importance on equality and diversity.
‘It is in this vein that we host spaces where specific minority groups who experience similar discrimination can talk together confidently about overcoming the structural disadvantages and prejudice they face in society.
‘These types of initiatives are the norm across the student movement and within Students’ Unions in the UK.’