Banana thrown at black Hallam student ‘not a racist incident’, say Sheffield Uni
The university have completed their investigation and punished the student who threw the banana
A banana thrown by a Sheffield Uni student at a black Sheffield Hallam student has not been treated as a racist incident, it has emerged today.
The investigation by the University of Sheffield into what happened at the Varsity ice hockey game is now complete. The university said that what happened was racist, but that there was no racist intent.
The student responsible for throwing the banana will also not be named by the university.
The student has "apologised for their actions", according to a university statement, and will be doing ten hours of volunteering work in the community as punishment.
However, for many Sheffield students, the response has not been good enough. Speaking in front of more than 50 people at a peaceful anti-racism demonstration outside Firth Court this afternoon, Tyrell Pearce, the student who had a banana thrown at him, said:
"I was at Varsity and got a banana thrown at me. It's been over a month now, it's been about six weeks, and today I got a phone call from the University about the incident.
"They basically said to me that what happened was racist, but they don't feel like the intention behind it was racist, so they've not treated it as a racist incident.
"What they said they're going to do to the student is ten hours of voluntary work, a written apology to me, and a written apology to the Varsity organisation, and that's about it.
"For the first two weeks they didn't contact me at all, and I had to get in contact with other organisations about it to push it forward. The reason they don't want it to be a racist incident is so that their reputation as a university is better and it's not seen as a racist uni."
A number of BME students also spoke at the protest, including Tyrell's friend Ricky Roberts, who said the university's response to the incident was "bullshit".
Flares were let off towards the end of the hour long demonstration, with anti-racist chants taking place throughout.
Representatives from the Sheffield Students' Union officer team, Sheffield Labour Students, and the Free University of Sheffield were in attendance for the demo.
Protest organiser Hajira Liaquat described the University's response as, "absolutely horrible".
Hajira told The Tab: "This isn't just about single incidences. This happens every single day. BME have to face micro-aggressions every single day, and the university doesn't seem to get that. So what we want to do is basically piss them off."
A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield told The Tab Sheffield:
“There is no place at Sheffield for racism in our university or students' union. Sheffield students take pride in being part of a community with friends and colleagues from over 140 different countries and of all ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
"Following a formal University investigation, the student has accepted responsibility for the impact of their actions and has apologised for their actions. The student will also be completing volunteering work within the community.
"The University and Students' Union will continue working to ensure our fundamental values of inclusion and respect are understood by all."
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