On Tuesday, March 12th, students at Goldsmiths UoL, organised as Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action, occupied Deptford Town Hall on the New Cross campus.
This continuing occupation is in response to Goldsmith’s repeated failure to take action against the numerous reports of hate crimes and racist abuse on campus. The occupation of Deptford Town Hall comes after Hamna Imran, candidate for Education Officer in the Goldsmiths Student Union, was subjected to a despicable act of racist abuse–her banner was torn down and her accent mocked in graffiti writing.
This is part of a wider pattern of racism at Goldsmiths, who have repeatedly failed to act on time or at all in response to: racial attacks, harassment, anti-Blackness across campus and colonial ideology in the curriculum, endangerment and exploitation of international and migrant students and staff, and the refusal to address its colonial legacy and negative economic effect on the local area.
Beyond Goldsmiths itself, this is also representative of the British higher education system’s function to reproduce colonialist and white supremacist ideology within its structures by disregarding the scholarship, voices, and well-being of minority ethnic students and staff. An example of this is the exploitative relationship between British universities and their international students and tutors, who are subjected to immigration controls and monitoring that lead to a higher risk of deportation, who suffer from lack of access to support systems, and who pay exorbitant fees (in the case of students). Additionally, migrant cleaners and security staff across british universities are widely neglected and abused through lack of benefits and precarious working conditions.
In the meantime, higher education institutions continue to portray themselves as “world-leading” centres of knowledge while happily cooperating with the hostile environment policies of the state.
Red Fightback stands in solidarity with Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action, as well as with the recent action taken by several student societies at King’s College London–including the Intersectional Feminist Society, the LGBT+ and African Caribbean societies–in protest of the dangerous levels of misogynistic and transphobic harassment directed at women and non-binary students in the context of the recent KCL SU elections. Once again, this is reflective of a wide pattern of institutional sexism and racism within KCL and within the british HE system as a whole, which continuously disregards the safety of its marginalised students and staff.