How Goldsmiths students took on campus racism and actually won

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By Micha Frazer-Carroll

Photography by Micha Frazer-Carroll

After 137 days in occupation, students of colour at Goldsmiths have won a long, gruelling fight against their university – marking what can only be described as a momentous achievement. The group’s demands, which the university has now agreed to meet, were extensive; including requesting that colonisers’ statues be taken down, scholarships should be reinstated for Palestinian students, the university should investigate the possibility of colonial reparations, launch an institution-wide plan to tackle racism at the university, introduce unconscious bias training for members of academic staff, issue an audit of the curricula, and ensure training and investment for culturally competent counselling services, to name a few.

Fiona, a second year anthropology and media student, had previously told me that as far as they were concerned, it was “all or nothing” – the students wouldn’t leave the university’s administrative centre until their demands were agreed to be met. Even though the university pursued legal action against the students, with a court hearing taking place in the week before the occupation ended, Goldsmiths’ Senior Management Team (SMT) did eventually sign a legally binding document to commit to their demands.

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