It’s November, which means October, the month dedicated to celebrating Black History has departed. It’s been an incredible month at LSE Students’ Union and I for one am buzzing about what we can achieve this year!
So a quick recap of what happened:
1) We kicked the month off with a screening of the award-winning ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ with the Film Society.
2) Footballing legends John Barnes (Former Liverpool and England Footballer) and Clarke Carlisle (Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association) came down to LSE to discuss racism in sport in an open forum with the school community.
3) Our African and Caribbean Society alongside their counterparts at Imperial, UCL and other universities debated the critical issues affecting Black people in the UK. The event aimed to transform Black History Month from “being a mere platform for celebrating people and events into a fundamental rethink of our position in society”.
4) SU election results are a nerve-racking experience for candidates and campaigners alike. We decided to host an open mic night with performances all night long to ease the tension in the room.
There’s no doubt the month was an incredible success and thanks are due to a lot of people who made this happen. Firstly I’d like to thank the entire SU team, the staff, the entire executive and the societies that made the month what it was. I’d like to thank all the students that took part in our events, those that debated the footballing legends, the talented students that performed on the open mic night and all those that participated in the discussions around Black History on campus. Finally, I owe a great deal to our amazing African and Caribbean Society, I’m honoured to have worked with them.
I very much hope this will be the start of a positive anti-racist movement on campus which ultimately makes LSE a better place for everybody to study, organise and work in regardless of their race, nationality, ethnicity or religion.
Chair: Sherelle Davids
- Holocaust Memorial Day
Discussion of events and organisation that could be involved throughout the week, which the Jewish Society will naturally be taking the lead on but are looking to work with both the anti-racism assembly and societies.
The weeklong events will be based around the theme of ‘never again’ and will incorporate all issues of Genocide.
Events taking place/ideas for possible events discussed:
- Jewish society have a Holocaust survivor coming to give a talk on the 1st Feb between 6pm-7pm
- A screening of the wave
- A discussion around whether an event with songs written by Holocaust survivors would be appropriate
- On Holocaust Memorial Day itself the school will be holding an event in the Shaw library.
- Screening of ‘The Wave’
- An academic talk on the history of Genocide – discussion around concerns that any talk that could be seen as ‘politicising’ genocide and the ‘pros and cons’ of stopping it from happening would not be appropriate. It must be an academic talk just looking at the historical causes surrounding genocide and the Holocaust.
- Societies, such as Amnesty, having stalls along Houghton street and holding events to highlight the human rights abuses – if a society knows of a current campaign surrounding the issue they could do a week of action on this, getting students to sign petitions, etc.
Actions decided on:
· Another planning meeting with the anti-racism assembly, the Jewish Society and anyone else who wants to be involved, to be organised for next week so the plans are in motion before the end of term.
· When a date has been decide on Lizzy/Pete to book a room and add it to the SU online calendar.
- How to move forward with the Kanazawa campaign
Discussion around how to best approach the Kanazawa campaign now Judith Rees has effectively said the issue is over and since the heat around the issue has died down.
Questions regarding how the student’s he is currently teaching feel about him?
Actions decided on:
- To keep lobbying the academic board, so even if it will not change their decision it still shows that students are still not completely happy.
- To perhaps pressure him personally to step down
- To celebrate the victory that has happened – that he has admitted his academic work is incorrect and based on unfounded scientific claims.
- To perhaps have another meeting closer to the next academic board in January to discuss the best way of expressing to the academic board that his presence at the university is still a cause of concern for many students and the SU.
- How to tackle racism and discrimination on campus
Discussion how to best police such things from happening and what actions should be taken if someone feels they have been racially discriminated on.
Issues surrounding the Bankside Hall incident and the anti-sematic comments previously written on social media - Sherelle brought forward the issue that she has had two complaint of abuse of social media, and how it is best to move forward with issues like this.
Questions raised from this discussion:
- Why doesn’t SU policy apply for student spaces like halls?
- Is it right to police social media? When does a comment on someone’s social media move from being someone’s right to freedom of expression and opinion, to being a racist attack?
Actions decided on:
- To keep people updated on the Bankside Hall’s incident.
- Do not see the Bankside Hall’s incident as an isolated incident in which he is the scapegoat for a deeper rooted problem within LSE – use the incident to our advantage by putting a system in place where the SU become more proactive in tackling discrimination.
- Create a social media policy that states the SU have a zero tolerance to discrimination, whether that be face to face or online – there is no distinction.
- Make it clear that if someone is racial attacking another student online then there is no difference than if they were doing it face to face.
- Make sure any policy put through by the SU would also include a statement based around issues when a student is using schools resources, such as computers and networks, and they make abusive or discriminatory statements.
- Sherelle raised passing any zero tolerance to discrimination policy through the UGM rather than voting for it within the assembly, in order to make it more democratic.
On the walk back to the SU there was also a brief discussion surrounding whether the SU has a policy on Islamophobia in the same way it has a policy on anti-Semitism and if not perhaps this is something the assembly should also be calling for.
The first Anti-Racism assembly of the Student Union is taking place next Thursday and everyone who wants to be involved in the anti-racism movement should come along.
Some things I have put on the agenda are:
- Strategy around moving forward with the Kanazawa campaign
- Building for events next year: Holocaust Memorial Day
- Good Campus Relations e.g. Interfaith, Online Social Networking issues
If there is anything else you feel needs to be put on the agenda and discussed please let me know (email@example.com).
I’ll be interested to hear if anyone thinks there is any anti-racist policy that needs to be implemented. Remember the Anti-Racism assembly is a democratic decision making body so this if there is any action that needs to take place in regards to eradicating racism on campus - this is the place to be!
On Tuesday 25th October in The Graham Wallis Room, Old Building (room 550) at 11 am.
This one hour meeting provides a safe setting in which BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) students can explore and look at a range of issues. It is a supportive and therapeutic space for students to share experiences of being a BME individual in London and LSE.
This workshop will be run by an experienced counsellor from the LSE student counselling service.
No need to book in advance, just turn up at the door.
The counselling service will also run two short term groups this term on self-esteem and stress management, as well as groups for MSc and also for PhD students. These are all small groups, and to join a group you will need to book your place in advance.
If you are interested, please see the website, visit the office in KSW.507, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7852 3627.