Ben HaywardOctober 10th

Students have accused Goldsmiths, University of London of watering down a report revealing how black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students feel victimised on campus.

Mona Mounir, welfare and liberation officer at Goldsmiths students’ union, says the foreword she was asked to write for the report was removed at the last minute for being ‘too political’.

Mounir, who was also writing the foreword in her capacity as a representative of student group, Goldsmiths Anti-Racism Action, used the foreword to describe the challenges of undertaking anti-racism work at Golsmiths.

“I realised that the students’ union has ‘liberation’ as a priority in the set written values but does not demonstrate that as much as it should in practice,” she wrote.

The report - originally commissioned by the students’ union - was handed over to the university when funding ran out, on the basis that the union would have both final sign-off and the opportunity to provide the foreword, reports The Guardian. 

According to Mounir, Goldsmiths were unhappy with the criticisms she made, and altered the foreword without her knowledge, informing her it had already been sent to print. 

It was only after she challenged the university that it agreed to retract the foreword and remove reference to the students’ union endorsement. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Mounir said: “They want to produce the first report by an institution around racism, but they don’t want to forefront the voices of people who are really doing stuff on the ground. The majority of this report was funded by students’ union money.”

The report found that while almost half (45%) of students at Goldsmiths are from BAME backgrounds they reported that they frequently experience both overt and indirect racism from both peers and staff, and did not trust the university to handle complaints.

However, Mounir says she is satisfied with the report’s recommendations, which include mandatory race-awareness training for staff, a review of complaints procedures, and improving the number of BAME senior managers. 

On the other hand, she says the report doesn’t actually contain anything that the students’ union hasn’t already raised, and that a lot has ‘been toned down on language and stuff like that, and a lot [has] been covered up."

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths said: “The college offered to support this important research when it became clear that otherwise it would not be completed or published and the voices of the BAME students who took part would not be heard. 

“The students’ union were offered the opportunity to contribute a foreword along with an additional 12-pages of responses from individuals and groups about their experiences.

“When offering to support the completion of the report the college understood it to be a joint publication with the students’ union. The students’ union asked for their logo to be removed from the report shortly before publication.”

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