Union declares itself “institutionally racist”

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The Oxford Union debating society has declared itself “institutionally racist” during a meeting of Standing Committee today.

During the four hour meeting, to which representatives of campaign groups including Rhodes Must Fall were present, the Standing Committee also condemned the “Colonial Comeback cocktail” and all materials associated with it as unequivocally racist.

Due to legal concerns over employment law, the Standing Committee were unable to discuss specifics related to the individual involved in creating the cocktail name and poster, including any discussion over the individual’s potential resignation. More information on this matter is expected to follow once the Union President has spoken with lawyers.

As well as representatives of Rhodes Must Fall, members from the Oxford University Africa Society, Oxford University Pan-Africa Society and Oxford University International society were present at the meeting.

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, from St Anne’s, speaking on behalf of Rhodes Must Fall, called the affair a “serious dereliction of duty on various sides” and stated that “we think the resignation of person A [the pseudonym given to the unidentified individual responsible for the cocktail name] is non-negotiable”.

Members of Standing Committee also outlined timelines of their personal experience of Thursday evening, when the incident occurred. During these testimonies, both Union President Olivia Merrett and Librarian Stuart Webber stated that they believed all posters had been removed after initial moves were taken prior to the debate itself.

During the meeting, Merrett was also criticised for failing to meet with the Union’s (now resigned) BME officer, Esther Odejimi, at any point in Odejimi’s term.

Continue to check The Oxford Student website for updates, and see Thursday’s print edition for full coverage.


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