Our Sabbatical Officers wish to highlight this letter from Goldsmiths Anti Racist Action regarding recent events...
We are writing from Goldsmiths Anti Racist Action --a large and ever-growing collective of students, staff, community members, and other allies--who have been occupying Deptford Town Hall for 91 days (or 13 weeks) now, 24/7, in protest of the institutional racism that is rife on our campus. We must reiterate that this protest was not a decision made lightly and was undertaken as a last resort after years of BAME students and staff raising concerns about weak responses to racism as well as racist policies, and not being listened to.
What is the truth?
It is absolutely disingenuous that the SMT have been circulating a racialised narrative of GARA members as “unreasonable” and “unwilling” to meet when we have evidenced otherwise. This is the same rhetoric that was used by senior adminstration/management in the Fees Must Fall and Everything Must Fall movements in South Africa to undermine student protesters then, too. We, too, are students with assessments and exams and jobs to attend and we cannot afford the luxury of delay yet this is what we have been forced to endure.
Senior Management have refused to contact us directly. Initially, Senior Management chose to email Staff but not Students about the so-called progress being made and published incorrect information on their website regarding the nature of progress. Senior Management cancelled the staff open meeting with the Warden as a way to shut down public dialogue and avoid accountability in front of the scrutiny of staff members.
You can even keep track of our correspondence with SMT here.
We are aware that Helen Watson sent an email out to all students on Monday 3rd June 2019, but this email was full of factual inaccuracies and exaggerating the commitments they have actually made.
Clearly, it is SMT -- and not GARA -- who are neither cooperating nor facilitating meaningful discussion.
As of Monday 3rd June 2019, we finally received a response to our document from two months ago and as of Friday 7th June 2019, we replied in receipt of this and confirmed that we were now prepared to meet upon SMT’s response. May we add, while we disagree with much of the contents of the response, we are still keen to meet.
Our demands are simple and evidenced. We want to transform Goldsmiths but we know that this will not happen overnight. The implementation and actioning of our demands is only the beginning.
Who actually supports us?
- Goldsmiths UCU
- Goldsmiths UNISON
- NUS Black Students’ Campaign (2 million members)
- Dr Angela Davis
- Black Lives Matter UK
- Outgoing Lord Mayor of Sheffield and incoming MEP Magid Magid
- Unis Resist Border Controls
- Building Anti Racist Classrooms
- Shades of Noir
- Many more…
You can find news coverage of the ongoing protests here: BBC, Gal Dem (1) (2), Guardian, Independent, RT News, Teacher’s Voice podcast, Dissident Island Radio (1) (2). Just yesterday, members of GARA were honoured guests of Rage Against The Machine Tom Morello’s activist choir, performing in front of 50,000 people as they opened for Muse.
This support exists because our demands are reasonable; our demands are just; our demands are necessary.
How can you help?
- Reject the email sent by Helen Watson, which is misleading and obscures the reality that SMT have refused. Email SMT and tell them the importance of meeting ALL of our demands in full.
- Sign our petition.
- Visit us (we have free coffee, tea and food for all!). Last entry is 7pm -- after this time, you will be allowed to leave at any point, but you will not be able to (re)enter. (Yes, SMT do treat us like prisoners.)
- Pressure your department to hold a meeting on tackling racism and come up with a strategy to eradicate institutional barriers for BAME students. You can do this by using our email template.
- Show your support on social media using the hashtag #GoldOccupy.
- Use #OneGoldsmiths and #MyRacistCampus to document any experiences of racism you have had at Goldsmiths.
- Fill out an endorsement form.
- Offer to hold workshops or events at Deptford Town Hall.
- Donate water and food supplies.
We thank you for all of your support in building an anti racist university. If you haven’t already, get down to New Cross and join the fight against racism in all of its forms. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
Goldsmiths Anti Racist Action
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