Oxford college investigating after porter ‘asked black graduate if he was a robber’

‘He does not deserve to be employed’


An Oxford college has launched an investigation after becoming embroiled in a racism row with a black graduate, who claims a porter suggested he was a criminal.

The graduate said he returned to St John's college on Tuesday to look around his student home after graduating.

But upon arriving he claims a porter asked: "What did you do, clean the windows? Rob it?"

He complained to St John's, prompting the college to begin a formal investigation into the claims.

An SJC spokeswoman told The Tab: "We're aware of the matter and we are investigating."

The graduate took to Twitter on Wednesday over the affair. In a tweet that has been liked 500 times, he wrote: "Ey I went to my old college in Oxford yesterday to look round again.

"At the door I explained to the porter that I used to go there & he replied 'What did you do, clean the windows? Rob it?'"

It sparked a furious response, with several Oxford students demanding that the porter be fired.

Oxford student Mia Farraday said she was "shocked and saddened", adding: "If you are willing to DM the porter’s name, and any further details you’d like to share, I will email college and university authorities. That porter does not deserve to remain employed."

Rhys Morgan tweeted: "That's disgusting, I'm appauled (sic) and so sorry. I've seen it was SJC as well, have you had any response from them?"

While another Oxford graduate wrote: "I’ll send a note to the VC right now big man. I’m bringing this up next week in a meeting with uni."

The graduate said he was "chatting to someone from the SJC should get something done".

This is not the first time an Oxford college has been at the centre of a racism row.

In 2017, black activist Femi Nylander hit out at Harris Manchester College after staff distributed CCTV footage of him on college grounds to other students, warning them to be vigilant.

In an email to all staff and students at the college, bosses issued a warning to “maintain vigilance against unauthorised persons”.

In January St Hugh's College at Oxford was forced to apologise for planning a "romans and roadmen" themed social that asked guests to come along wearing "togas", "tracksuits" or "whatever roadworker attire you have in your closet".

Students complained that it perpetuated "sickening" stereotypes about young black men coming from poor backgrounds and being involved in knife crime.

Universities were criticised in October for being in denial about the scale of racist incidents on campuses, and failing to address the problem.

In a damning report, UK rights watchdog the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found 29 per cent of black students had reported racial harassment since beginning their course.

Update: St John's College are investigating 'as a matter of urgency'

A St John's College spokesperson told The Tab: "St John’s College is committed to ensuring the welfare and well-being of a diverse college community where there is no place for discrimination of any kind.

"We are aware of a Twitter post about discriminatory language reportedly used by a member of staff towards a visitor. We are investigating this incident as a matter of urgency and will take action as appropriate."

Featured image: Robin Sones via CC BY-SA 2.0 license