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Goldsmiths students occupy university in protest at racism

ANTI-RACISM PROTEST: Students at Goldsmiths are occupying Deptford town hall

GOLDSMITHS STUDENTS are staging a protest against racism by occupying one of the university’s buildings.

The group have occupied Deptford town hall, which was acquired by the university in 2000, for more than a week.

The most recent catalyst for the protest was a student election candidate’s complaint of racist abuse.

The candidate reported that one of her election posters had been vandalised with racist graffiti, The Guardian reported.

Those taking part in the occupation have listed a number of reasons why they have decided to take action.

One student told BBC Radio London: “We are here to stay until the senior management team listens to our demands and act upon them and we will stay as long as it takes.”

The protesters claim that contact hours have been cut on courses with predominantly BME students and the institution’s BAME attainment gap. Figures show that in 2017-18,71.6 per cent of BAME undergraduates were awarded either a first class or upper second degree, in comparison to 89.7 per cent of their white peers, The Guardian reported

One student said: “All this discrimination that’s been going on within lectures and seminars, it has a significant impact on students wellbeing and mental health and whether they even turn up to their lectures and even contribute to Goldsmiths academia.”

Those protesting argue that despite many recommendations, the issues around discrimination have not been redressed. Others cited micro-aggressions in the classroom and a failure to decolonise the curriculum as reasons for the occupation.

In a statement, Goldsmiths, University of London, said: “Goldsmiths is proud of our diverse and inclusive community and prejudice of any kind has no place on our campus.”

Responding directly to the claims that it has not acted upon concerns raised by students, it said: “It is not true that Goldsmiths has not taken any action regarding the students’ union election poster. The report about the poster was responded to within five working days and progress has already been made on the investigation, including reviewing all available CCTV footage.”

It added: “Having considered wider issues raised by the protesters, we are building on existing support for the 40 per cent of our students who identify as black, Asian or ethnic minority.”

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