A senior TCS journalist is facing calls to resign – after making a 'racist' joke about a CUSU Student Support candidate.
A senior TCS journalist is facing calls to resign – after making a ‘racist’ joke about a CUSU Student Support candidate.
James Burton, a former editor and current news editor, made the grammatically incorrect remark in his Spoiling The Ballot column.
Burton said of Heidi Aho, a third-year theologian from Finland, that her ‘names [sic] sounds like a yodel’.
He then proceeded to attack the manifesto of Aho, and running mate Taz Rasul, a candidate for Access Officer.
Rasul’s website TazHelp, designed to help state school pupils apply to Cambridge, was ‘A Very Bad Thing’, he said.
He went on to compare it to fee charging services like Oxbridge Personal Statements, omitting the fact that Rasul’s website provides information free of charge.
“James’s attack on Heidi’s name simply highlights his complete lack of substantive arguments“, Rasul told The Tab.
“It’s easy to bully a candidate when you’re the news editor of The Cambridge Student and all they have is Facebook. So, why couldn’t he do it right?”.
“After giving my voluntary job a good and thorough Paxo, he moves onto my lovely slate mate Heidi – again, trying his utmost to dig out something that could in any way resemble criticism. He manages only a bit of casual racism and quoting parts of her blog, again hoping that the quote marks alone will make it sound silly.”
Burton called a post on mental health by Aho ‘condescending’, despite the fact she has previously suffered from mental health issues.
Burton, as pictured in this week’s column
“His snide remark about my name sounding like a yodel is representative of an attitude fundamentally opposed to the diversity of students at Cambridge, which should be celebrated, not derided”, Aho told The Tab.
“He calls me ‘condescending’ towards people with mental health issues – this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is because I have struggled through the welfare services of Cambridge due to an acute mental health problem that I can claim to understand what it feels like.”
Angry readers today called for Burton to be sacked.
‘In making your attacks, you have wilfully distorted the truth and misinformed your readership. All in favour of James Burton being sacked? Bloody aye’, wrote one.
‘Perhaps you don’t like Scandinavian people on principle, which is your racist prerogative, but they probably know a thing or two about welfare’, said another.
Other readers called the attack ‘a smear campaign on the basis of a personal grudge’, ‘misinformed’ and ‘in incredibly bad taste’.
Burton appears to have a particular dislike for candidates running for Access Officer. In a previous column, he wrote: ‘Most manifestos are full of the usual vague promises and fluff. Access candidates tout their state school credentials’.
Burton attended the independent RGS Worcester, which advertises fees of £9 450 per year.
CUSU’s own website contains the following advice about reporting racist incidents: ‘The problem (apart from the obvious) with racist incidents is that they do not have to be large to have a large effect. One off the cuff comment in the college bar may be enough to cause tremendous disaffection but not seen as worth the effort of reporting.’
When asked by The Tab if he would like to apologise for the article, Burton said he “didn’t wish to comment at this time”.