GUCU Passes motion in support of student occupation against racism

The following motion was passed unanimously by GUCU members at a branch meeting held March 19, 2019.

This branch notes: 

  1. That students have been occupying Deptford Town Hall since last Tuesday,12 March 2019 to protest “against lack of anti-racist action from Senior Management at Goldsmiths”, including action regarding – the racist abuse experienced by SU Education officer candidate Hamna Imran, the experiences of BAME students who regularly face racism and anti-blackness on campus, ‘liberating’ and transforming the curriculum, and other forms of structural and institutional racism in the university.
  2. That students are standing in solidarity with the campaigns to bring security and reception staff in-house and with the cleaners who are facing precarious working conditions.
  3. That students have now produced an open letter outlining the reasons for their action, along with a comprehensive set of demands designed to address a “problem that is institutional and complex”.
  4. That students have called for an institution-wide strategic plan on how the university plans to tackle racism and pay attention to the realities of life as a BAME student at Goldsmiths; a fully resourced audit and overhaul of the curricula in all departments; reform of the Hate Crime Reporting Centre; employment of BAME staff in wellbeing and counselling; recruitment of a team of full-time staff hired to work with Dr Nicola Rollock and the BME Attainment Gap Working Group on race equality, and effective anti-racism training for staff at Goldsmiths.
  5. That students have called for staff support and many GUCU members have signed a solidarity statement and a letter of concern.

This branch further notes:

  1. That after students were locked in and out of Deptford Town Hall (with the fire exits blocked) and deemed “trespassers” by the college, GUCU President Marian Carty and concerned staff wrote to SMT, calling for free access to Deptford Town Hall during the occupation, and for them to take up open dialogue with the students and address issues being raised in effective and meaningful ways.
  2. That this morning senior management responded to say the DTH will be re-opened and accessible from 9 AM to 7 PM.

This branch believes:

  1. That students and staff have the right to protest against all forms of racism and discrimination and that the university must keep access to DTH open (and keep the fire exits unblocked).
  2. That Goldsmiths should make good its commitment to ‘liberate the curriculum’ and to the idea of ‘One Goldsmiths’ by listening to the demands of the students.
  3. That the project of liberation cannot be a performative one. It must first and foremost address the institutional and structural environment inhabited by students and staff and take seriously all forms of racism and anti-blackness on campus. It must insist on a review of curricula and pay attention to the experiences and struggles of marginalised students.
  4. That the on-going occupation has highlighted crucial issues of racism and the experiences of BAME students – and staff on campus – which much be addressed and changed through rigorous, consistent, and long-term anti-racist action by the university.

This branch resolves:

  1. To support the students’ right to protest and the student occupation and to work with the Students Union to tackle racism and discrimination.
  2. To continue to insist that access to DTH is open and the fire exits remain unblocked and for SMT to guarantee there will be no disciplinary action against the students.
  3. To call on Goldsmiths SMT to deliver an institutional wide strategic plan on how the university plans to tackle racism and the realities of life for BME students and staff at Goldsmiths, and to work in consultation with all campus unions on the development, implementation and monitoring of an anti-racist policy within an agreed time frame.
  4. To support the student demand for a fully resourced audit and overhaul of the curricula.
  5. To ask Goldsmiths SMT to provide effective compulsory anti-racism training for staff at Goldsmiths.
  6. To follow up with Goldsmiths SMT with regards to the other demands of the students, including to support the reinstatement of contact hours on the STaCS BA CD&YW programme

Proposed: Akanksha Mehta

Seconded: Milly Williamson

Passed unanimously (52 in favour).