‘Go back to Uganda you slave’: Member of elite Edinburgh society made to resign over offensive slur

‘Highly offensive’ comments were made during a Diagnostics debate

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A number of racist comments were allegedly made to a black student at a Diagnostic Society event in Edinburgh last month, causing one member of the society to resign from their position.

A student present at the event told The Tab one black student was told to "go back to Uganda, you slave", after he had previously been addressed as an "African dictator."

The event took place on March 15th and was jointly held with Edinburgh's Debates Union. The President of the society at the time of the event was royal family member Sam Chatto, who is 23rd in line to the British throne.

The Diagnostic Society is a debating society, the university's oldest having been founded in 1816. They hold their debates at black tie events, and senior members have to wear robes. The motion being debated that night was titled "This Society Would Yield To Temptation".

Diagnostics often hold their debates in Old College

A female member of Diagnostics is understood to have left the room in tears after hearing the comments, saying "I am disgusted and embarrassed." She was later consoled by the person on the receiving end of the racist language, who is believed to be the society's new President, Ezana Tchukombe.

The Tab contacted both Chatto and Tchukombe about the incident.

Chatto, despite being the President at the time of the incident, failed to give any explanation as to what occurred, saying that there "won't really be a good time" to discuss what happened on that night. He cited his impending dissertation deadline and the fact that he was no longer the society's President as his reasons for being unable to comment. When he was asked to provide details a second time, he did not reply.

Tchukombe however, did provide The Tab with a statement on behalf of the society saying a "highly offensive comment" was made and that the society member responsible for the comment was swiftly removed.

He said: "During a debate last month a society member made a highly offensive comment to someone else who was present. This behaviour breached the core principles of the society and violated our own Safe Space policy."

"The member in question was immediately shut down by the president, Sam Chatto, who then unreservedly apologised to the person involved on behalf of the society. The society member was asked to resign immediately and the Students' Union was notified of the removal the following day."

"This incident was exceptional in nature and was unequivocally condemned by all members of the society. The Diagnostic society makes it clear, both in our constitution and conduct, that any form of discrimination or harassment, direct or indirect, is completely intolerable."

When asked about the specific nature of the comments and who made them, Tchukombe repeatedly refused to comment.

Diagnostic Society members meet every other Thursday to debate motions in black tie in places such as the Scottish Arts Club and Old College whilst drinking alcohol. Some of their previous motions include "This Society Supports the 8th of June 1647 Ordinance of the Long Parliament" and "This Society Believes That All Journalists Should Be Killed." On their list of events on their website, all dates are written in Latin.

If you have experienced or witnessed any racist or homophobic language at a Diagnostic Society event before, email [email protected].

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