Here’s everything that went down at the UNMASK rally yesterday
People gathered outside the Forum to protest racism in Exeter
The rally comes just days after the shocking racist BLS group chat was exposed. The original post, which has now been taken down by Facebook, garnered thousands of likes and shares before its removal.
The rally was organised to show solidarity with those affected by the BLS scandal, but also for other incidences of racial abuse, sexual abuse and homophobia here in Exeter. It was reported that over 300 people turned up to show their support.
The rally had a list of speakers who spoke about their own experiences with racial hatred, sexism and homophobia.
The speakers shared their own stories, as well as poems and monologues, that helped to convey their personal experiences with discrimination of any way.
In her speech at the rally, Shades told people that: "we must show that these individuals are not representative us and they aren't representative of Exeter. We need to promote the ideology that irrespective of where you are from, who you are, what you believe, any sexuality or sexual orientation of any kind, we are all Exeter."
Her speech was greatly anticipated, after the revelation that the racist messages had already been reported to the Guild and the university weeks before it was posted on social media.
We spoke to Arsalan, whose post it was that went viral, about whether or not he thought the uni and the Guild would have attempted to try and keep the situation as quiet as possible. He said this on the matter:
"I personally know of incidences worse than what we uncovered that have been brushed under the carpet and haven't been addressed in any sort of similar situation to this.
"I hope when they do make their final decision it is proportionate and something that sets an example to everybody that finally racism at this uni will be addressed and people wont be so afraid to talk to someone about it"
We also spoke to Roman, one of the other people impacted by the racist BLS group chat and he stated that: "With the BLS thing, the main issue isn't whether it was individual or institutional, it's just that it has opened the floodgates for a lot of people to come out because the unis response has been generally more reactive than active.
"So when things did happen, things are tried to be kept quiet and hush hush and adequate outcomes don't usually come about. I think that's why most people here are campaigning today because they want to see the uni being active."
Overall, the rally was intended to show solidarity with those who have experienced discrimination in Exeter, but also to send out a message of hope.
While Exeter is unfortunately beginning to gain an unflattering reputation, with the recent revelations being added to an ever growing list, this will hopefully be one of the last racially motivated instances to happen at this university.