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Dr Gopal accuses King’s College Porters of racism

Cambridge English academic refuses to supervise students at King’s in response to treatment by Porters

Priyamvada Gopal, who is an Reader of Anglophone and Related Literature at Cambridge University has spoken out on Twitter against the treatment she has received from King's Porters, which she considers.

Dr Gopal wrote on Twitter about how she asked to be addressed as Dr Gopal, and in response the Porter said 'I don't care who you are', and when she tried to complain to the Head Porter, he continued to address her as 'madam' in an aggressive way.

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Gopal's tweet

This incident was the straw that broke the camel's back for Dr Gopal, a fellow at Churchill, who called out the 'consistently racist profiling & aggression" by King's Porters.

As a result of this, Dr Gopal has stated that she will not longer supervise students from King's. Though this decision is aimed at her disagreement with the college, it is the students who would be at a disadvantage due to it. She has apologised to future students who may be affected, but stressed that she needed to take action against the issue.

Dr Gopal has received many vitriolic messages in response to this, with some accusing her of using the race card. This is not the first time that Gopal has experienced angry messages, after the disagreement with Mary Beard and Nigel Biggar, an Oxford professor, was widely publicised.

King's college have issued a statement saying "We have investigated the incident and found no wrongdoing on the part of our staff". The college rebuffs the accusation of the racist behaviour of the Porters, stating "We categorically deny that the incident referred to was in any way racist."

On that occasion they said "Every visitor was asked to show their card during the course of that day, as the College was closed to everyone except King’s members. Non-members such as Dr Gopal were asked to take alternatives routes, around the College."

King's has highlighted that its gate staff have a challenging job in tourist season, with thousands of visitors per day, and have received few complaints.

That King's has a strict entrance policy is something students at Cambridge are all aware of, being the only college that consistently asks for University ID to be allowed through the college. However, King's is not alone in being a college where people of colour have reported that they are more likely to be stopped and challenged as to whether they are a member of the University.