Soton Black Students’ Network calls on societies to sign anti-racism charter

They want all societies to protect their Black members

The Southampton Black Students’ Network is calling for all University of Southampton societies and clubs to sign and commit to an anti-racism charter.

An Instagram post by the Southampton Black Students’ Network says the purpose of the charter “is to show that your society is willing to pledge to take a series of steps to protect the interests of Black members, as well as the wider student community”.

The post says: “Racism comes in many forms, ranging from microaggressions and ‘jokes’ to severe incidents of abuse as was witnessed recently”.

The Southampton Black Students’ Network told The Soton Tab: “This year alone we have seen Black students on campus be the target of racism and committing to fight anti-black racism is the first step many of our societies can take”. The Network also stated it hoped “to be a platform to focus student’s energy into organising against racism”.

Image credit: Evie Playfoot-Orme

The charter consists of ten points which can be read below:

  1. Refrain from the use of any derogatory or discriminatory language.
  2. Refrain from any derogatory or discriminatory behaviour.
  3. Call out anti-black behaviour amongst committee and ordinary society members.
  4. Take a hard-line approach to any incidents of racism that occur during society events.
  5. Publicly condemn the use of racist language.
  6. Publicly condemn any racially-charged incidents that occur.
  7. Adequately protect Black members from any risk of racial abuse.
  8. Adequately train committee members to deal with such incidents.
  9. Cooperate fully when someone considers their own behaviour to be harmful.
  10. Listen to the concerns of Black students rather than silencing them

The call for societies to commit to anti-racism comes after a series of racist incidents have occurred within societies. In the Instagram post, the Black Students’ Network describes how a Zoom meeting between Wessex Scene and Ashamed Magazine had been disrupted and an alleged racial incident had taken place.

If you are the President or hold another senior position in a University of Southampton society, you can sign the anti-racism charter here on behalf of your society.

You can sign this petition to demand justice for George Floyd; this petition to ask the UK government to condemn President Trump’s response; and this petition to demand a change to the British curriculum.

Featured image credit: Evie Playfoot-Orme

Related articles recommended by this writer:

‘Actions speak louder than words’: Soton students on the Uni’s BLM response

Soton student makes petition asking the Uni to ‘do more to tackle racism’

I’m black and grew up in the US. This is how it feels to live within racism you see on TV

PSA: Your performative activism and Instagram chains aren’t helping anyone