SU Officers' statement on the Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Occupation

The Sabbatical Officer team of Goldsmiths Students’ Union will be withdrawing from all Goldsmiths’ committees, working groups, project boards and College Council until Goldsmiths Senior Management Team of the University:

  1. a)  Adequately respond in detail to the fifteen-page response document sent to SMT on 7th April by Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action group, which you can find here.

  2. b)  Meet with GARA based on the conditions they have previously outlined for another meeting to take place.

At the time of writing, students have been occupying Deptford Town Hall for 65 days and little progress has been made by senior management in addressing the demands that have been proposed, all of which highlight a serious level of institutional racism at Goldsmiths. It is shameful that it has taken this long, and so we feel no choice but to withdraw our representation from an institution which fails to represent our members.

Responses by SMT so far have been vague and inadequate, failing to take any action on what students are asking for. We would like to take this moment to remind everybody that the Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action occupation has come as a last resort. The institution has not been prioritising issues of BME welfare and attainment for a number of years, despite it being continuously flagged by students, staff and the SU. It is time for the institution to not only acknowledge the seriousness of these issues but commit to concrete action.

It is imperative that senior management directly tackle the issues raised by GARA head-on. Defensiveness and questioning by white staff only perpetuates racism in the institution. Addressing the problems felt by BME students on our campus must be dealt with the utmost priority and seriousness, taking into account the experiences of students and putting these experiences at the heart of this work.

Given the sheer volume of issues that students and the SU have raised over a number of years, to which no concrete solution has been given, committing to ‘’consultations’’ is not enough. Whilst good consultation can have its merits, it can also serve to silence. Students of this university are the biggest stakeholders and should be the main priority – when they ask, you should listen and commit to taking swift action. As sabbatical officers, we understand how the institution works, this also means we have seen how language like this can slow progress and create barriers.

Though SMT have contacted GARA about having another face-to-face meeting to “end the occupation’’, there has been no follow up to GARA’s response. This dismissal undermines the efforts of the GARA occupation and prolongs the process of meeting the demands. These students must be heard and action must be taken.

Our voices won’t be heard by you until you hear and act upon these students’ concerns. For transparency, we will be publishing this statement across our online platforms.

Regards,
Mona, JT, Joe, Taylor