CUSU BME Campaign launches “David Starkey should not represent Cambridge” petition

The campaign said his racist comments meant he should not represent the university


On the back of the release of the ‘Dear World, Yours Cambridge’ video last month, the CUSU’s Black and Minority Ethnic campaign has created a petition calling for the immediate removal of the clip from the channel, on the grounds that controversial historian David Starkey features prominently.

Starkey, an ex alumni of Fitzwilliam College, is well known for his books on Tudor-period England, and his controversial views on modern day Britain which he periodically disseminates through BBC television appearances.

One such appearance in 2011, following the infamous summer riots, left Starkey in hot water over comments on the effect of “black culture” on the behaviour of the British youth.

The divisive historian

After quoting Enoch Powell’s 1968 “Rivers of Blood” Speech, he went onto to say that “whites have become black; a particular sort of violent destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.”

Despite calls to apologise for such comments, David Starkey went on to argue that British black people have a propensity for violence in the Telegraph.

Cambridge University’s new fundraising video, for its £2 billion funding drive, features Starkey talking about the achievements of the University and its alumni, and can be found here.

As a result, the CUSU BME Campaign are demanding its removal on the basis that a man with his views should not represent the university.

An open letter, drafted by Dr Malachi McIntosh, the English DoS at Kings, has been addressed to the Vice Chancellor and the development offices, urging those associated with university to sign.

Dr Malachi McIntosh, DoS at Kings College

The letter makes reference to Starkey’s history of attracting controversy around topics such as multiculturalism, immigration and women in academia, before concluding that “As a collective we have many, many messages to share with the world. ‘David Starkey speaks for us’ is not one of them.”

When asked to comment on the petition, Mariam Ansar, the secretary for the CUSU BME Campaign told The Tab, “What the petition stands for is the articulation of frustrations many BME students felt when watching the original access video whilst being aware of Starkey’s long history of racist comments.”

She added: “Starkey’s previous comments are not simply ‘controversial.’ These comments don’t express a harmless opinion: they are racist, reinforce the idea of whiteness to be supreme, and are not casual in doing this.”

The news comes after Starkey’s involvement was satirised in the spoof video below.


 The Facebook page with details about how to sign the petition can be found here.