Kent Union and Kent Uni formally apologise for Black History Month campaign

‘We made a mistake’

Kent Union have issued apologies in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding their campaign for Black History Month.

In a post on Facebook made yesterday, the Union stated: “Last night we removed the posts about Zayn Malik and Sadiq Khan. We would like to unreservedly apologise for any offence or upset that was caused by this post.

“In the planning stages of Black History Month, we worked with students to develop a campaign that celebrated a range of ethnic cultures.

“However we can see that many of our students disagree with the direction the campaign took. We made a mistake.”


Credit: Kent Union

It also stated that Union officers would be meeting with the African-Caribbean society to apologise for their actions later that afternoon.

The initial statement that was released from Rory Murray, Union President was an apology: “On behalf of Kent Union to any individuals who were upset, uncomfortable or offended by the image shared. There was no intent for this to happen and I am very sorry to anybody who felt this way.”

It also made an attempt to contextualise the blunder, reading: “We are led by our members; over 2,000 volunteers who give up their time to run campaigns and events” and that “The Black History Month calendar of events was led and run by these students and supported by the organisation.

“The activity for the month was decided by open meetings attended by black and minority ethnic students.”

The Union came under fire this week over social media and in the national press for using the images of figures of Indian and Pakistani descent to promote their Black History Month campaign.

The figures used in two tributes and biographies on Facebook were ex-One Direction singer Zayn Malik and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

During the uproar the Union was described by many on social media as a “national embarrassment” and guilty of being “culturally insensitive”.