We wanted to take a moment to address incident with the racist graffiti left on a wall in Guy’s Bar on 11th March 2020. Firstly, we would like to sincerely apologize for not having shared a response to the incident earlier. We understand that our lateness in providing a response has only exacerbated the feeling among our community that the union is complacent about racism on campus. Therefore, we commit to being transparent, proactive, and staunch in our future responses and we will work on this as a union.
When this hate crime was committed on our premises on the evening of 11th March, staff were made aware that a racist slur had been daubed on one of the walls within the venue at around 1:45 am. Management & security staff attended immediately and the decision to close the venue was taken to minimise distress to customers & ensure staff could investigate quickly. CCTV was checked and the alleged perpetrators were identified as students from another London university. The wall was cleaned immediately and re-painted the next day. A full investigation was started on 1st April by a KCLSU manager and the alleged students’ university helped to gain contact with one of them. At the time of writing this, the student has not responded to requests for a meeting to discuss events further. Their details have been passed to the police.
Although the individual identified is not a King’s student, we have the responsibility towards our community to ensure that our spaces are intolerant to any form of racism and that our membership is safe within our premises. We are appalled at the nature of this act, just as members of our community are too. We are working with our community to ensure that our Black students not only feel safe, but thrive.
We are looking at the naming of our spaces to ensure the environments we provide to our students are more inclusive, conducive for healthy social interaction, and representative of our values. We are also working on clear signage in all our spaces that reinforce our commitment towards ensuring that members of our community are and feel safe. These are actions that will form part of a larger set of commitments we are working on that will enable us to dismantle systemic anti-black racism that exist in our society and help us play an active role in creating a more inclusive environment.
At KCLSU, equity, diversity, inclusion and unity are enshrined in our values. We work extremely hard for our premises, our staff, and our students to embody these principles. We do not tolerate any form of racism in our venues, on our campuses, within our community and beyond.
We all have a role to play in challenging discrimination at KCLSU, King’s and the wider world. As our Vice-Principal ‘Funmi Olonisakin said: “Racism is a sport, it will take a team to dismantle it”. In making our spaces more inclusive we ask of you to ensure that you’re aware of who you bring to our campuses, and their conduct in our spaces. If you do experience any offensive or criminal acts of racism on campus, or see anyone else being affected by such acts, please safely report them immediately to a member of staff or the manager of our venues if you find yourself on-site, or to our Complaints Inbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liberation in our society can only be achieved through joint collaboration, and it is our own responsibility to help challenge discrimination, resist structural oppression, and build the world to be a better place. Please do keep safe, look after yourselves and one another.
This article was updated on 08/07/2020.