Daily Mail slams Cambridge BME students for ‘excluding white people’

Yet again The Mail has got Cambridge all wrong

BME students Daily Mail Formal the tab Trinity

BME activists have condemned a Daily Mail article accusing the Trinity College Students' Union of "excluding white people" by hosting a BME formal dinner as "inflammatory and ill-informed".

Some 120 Cambridge students from a wide range of black and minority ethnic communities attended the drinks and dinner at Trinity in February.

Organisers in the college advertised the event as "an occasion to meet new faces in the BME community, as well as old ones".

Last night, though, the Daily Mail decided it was a "segregated dinner" and cited a Tory MP, Andrew Bridgen, who attacked the students for imposing what he thought was "a new apartheid".

Jason Okundaye, President of the CUSU BME Campaign, tore apart the claim that the meal was an affront to racial equality – particularly at a university where four in five undergrads are white.

Speaking to The Tab, the equal rights campaigner said "the idea that a Formal Hall being held for black and minority ethnic students – for the celebration of our achievements and academic flourishing – constitutes some form of 'apartheid' or 'exclusion' is ridiculous."

He added that, in suggesting these safe spaces are oppressing white people, critics know the absurdity of their allegations:

"This is simply part of a pattern of attacks on, and obsession with, BME students who organise – whether in the form of BME open mic nights and dinners, art exhibitions, or in political and social activism.

"If they are so passionate about issues of inclusion, I invite them to attend the next open meeting at the university which discusses disproportionate access rates, non-representative curriculums, and the cultures of exclusion and intolerance which do exist at Cambridge."

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Mail getting involved and it's not even C-Sunday yet

For its part, the Daily Mail called out the university for its lack of diversity – noting that only 1% of Cambridge offers went to black British students between 2010 and 2015 – but failed to spot the irony in pointing the finger at groups offering support for marginalised students.

The BME Officer who was involved in running the dinner has publicly stated "while Cambridge is a great place to meet people from different walks of life, the lack of diversity means that the experience can be quite intimidating and unfamiliar for ethnic minority students."

They added events like BME formals are vital for helping students cope with such challenges: "Getting involved in cultural activities can be a great way to overcome difficulties by sharing experiences, traditions, making friends and introducing your friends to your culture."

This latest assault on BME events in Cambridge comes little over a month after white students shut down an open mic night at Robinson College by complaining they did not enjoy the performances.