Activism, Campaigns and News

In Solidarity with Goldie Osuri

#StudentsWithGoldieOsuri

We, the undersigned, are a collective of students within the Warwick Sociology department who have been taught by or had contact with Dr Goldie Osuri within a personal or educational capacity. We vouch for Dr Goldie Osuri not purely because of her character, but because it is within the interest of remaining honest and factual to do so. Having either attended the lecture in question or reviewed the lecture content after the fact, we believe that the mischaracterisation of Dr Goldie Osuri as antisemitic is untrue and libellous.

 

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Goldie for the following reasons:

  • We believe that all lives are precious. That this includes Jewish lives which are always at risk of violence. That this includes Palestinian lives which are always at risk of violence.
  • We believe that Dr Goldie Osuri was fair to recognise both of these aforementioned facts in her lecture.
  • We believe that Dr Goldie Osuri handled the topic with deliberate care, knowing the controversial nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict and, consequently, using precise language as to not diminish anyone’s lives or contribute to anyone’s dehumanisation.
  • We believe that the conflation of the policies of the state of Israel with the opinions and/or political ideologies of all Jewish people is antisemitic. This is something that Dr Goldie Osuri went to extra lengths in the lecture to remind us, providing several disclaimers at various points in the lecture in a manner that can only be described as overly-cautious.
  • We believe that critique of Zionist rhetoric – rhetoric which sometimes seeks to erase, obscure and invisibilise Palestinian lives – is not antisemitic. In this case, Dr Goldie Osuri provided academic and researched critique of Zionist rhetoric as it relates to transnational media ecologies in a measured and careful manner. In no way could her analysis be considered antisemitic. In fact, these critiques were re-articulations of transnational social media discourses, not her own political opinions.

 

We, the undersigned, stand in opposition to the mischaracterisation of Dr Goldie Osuri. We believe that this mischaracterisation has gone far enough. We do this for the following reasons:

  • We believe that the increasing criminalisation and penalisation of discussing the realities of Israel-Palestine in an academic context is dangerous to all our freedoms as oppressed people, minorities within this institution, and sociologists.
  • We believe that technological surveillance – which ironically was a topic within Dr Goldie Osuri’s lecture – is not just abstract theory, but a reality for many people, especially scholar-activists of colour who are in search of collective freedom and justice.
  • We believe that this surveillance which disproportionately penalises scholar-activists of colour leaves us prone to precarity, violence, and silencing. In fact, we believe that the fact that Dr Goldie Osuri was subject to such surveillance is evidence of her prowess as an academic, since what she articulated as theory is being demonstrated to us in real time.
  • We believe that students are students, not police officers or Prevent agents or border guards or agents of a hostile surveillance state and/or surveillance market.
  • Following from this, we believe that the attempt to a) record specific selected sections of Dr Goldie Osuri’s lecture, b) decontextualize the content, and c) leak this (mis)information to the national press, was the action of a student who took offence to the lecture material. Though we cannot ‘know’ whether said student(s) was acting in a deliberately malicious intention due to their own inability to handle the well-documented facts of Israel-Palestine, we can collectively condemn the actions of said student. Indeed, it is within our best conscience to do so.
  • We believe that said student(s) had the opportunity to contest the content of the lecture during the lecture, after the lecture, and within the seminar. In fact, it is within Dr Goldie Osuri’s mild-mannered and humble nature to welcome comments, critiques and opposing thoughts. Instead, said student(s) went straight to a national news outlet. Other avenues they could have pursued involve: raising concerns with the lecturer directly, filing a complaint, or speaking up for what they believe in – something we the undersigned often manage to do for ourselves daily in the face of (micro)aggressions.
  • We believe that we are part of the same community with our teachers, including Dr Goldie Osuri, with a common unifying goal: free decolonised accessible knowledge for all people at all times.
  • We believe that we are part of the same community with our teachers, including Dr Goldie Osuri, resisting similar attacks against our education: the commodification, marketisation, and securitisation of our learning.
  • We believe that none of us are free until all of us are free.

 

We, the undersigned, draw attention to the following facts:

  • The module which Dr Goldie Osuri teaches is concerned with ‘Transnational Media Ecologies’.
    • The quote used in the notes about Palestinian resistance ‘by any means’ – for clarification – is a quote by Hamid Dabashi (2014). Dr Goldie Osuri used this quote to highlight the differing narratives between the mainstream media and the ways in which Palestinians resist (not reducible to terrorism as Hamid Dabashi argues).
    • There is a group called Jewish Voice for Labour who argue that the claims of anti-semitism against the Labour Party are orchestrated. When Dr Goldie Osuri spoke of a lobby, she was not presenting an argument or a fact, she was specifically referring to the ‘transnational connectivities’ between Israel and the UK with reference to the example of the Labour Party. She made this clear in the lecture. You can read more about Jewish Voice for Labour here: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk
    • Dr Goldie Osuri also quoted Israel Zangwill (1901), a British author at the forefront of cultural Zionism, “Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country”. This was conveniently left out of the news article written about her lecture. The point was to include different popular discourses surrounding Israel-Palestine to highlight differing knowledges about a single conflict and how these knowledges are represented and disseminated in different media ‘ecologies’. These weren’t assertions, arguments or political opinions. She was doing her job, and doing it well.
  • Two members of Warwick University’s Jewish Israeli society who are leading the allegations of antisemitism against Dr Goldie Osuri are fellowship holders of the StandwithUs Emerson Fellowship. The fellowship is overtly about sending ‘trained pro-Israel’ student leaders to University campuses to create positive perceptions about Israel. It must also be mentioned that claims of islamophobia have been made against StandWithUs as an organisation. We believe that this information goes a long way toward explaining the kind of decontextualisation and misinformation that was being spread about the lecture and about Dr Goldie Osuri.  Here are some of the receipts for these claims:

–  In the same week that over 34 Palestinians have been massacred by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), a colonel from that same force is being allowed to speak on campus. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate who is ‘free’ to speak and what they are ‘free’ to speak about.

 

We call for student journalists, student societies and (national) news outlets to retract the lies made against Dr Goldie Osuri with unequivocal apologies. We call for the University to use this statement as evidence in support of Dr Goldie Osuri in any disciplinary proceedings regarding this matter.

 

For all of these reasons and more, we – the undersigned – stand in unwavering solidarity with Goldie Osuri! #StudentsWithGoldieOsuri

 

We, the undersigned:

Ademola Anjorin (Politics and Sociology)

Lucy Mooring (Sociology)

Lanaire Aderemi ( Sociology)

Precious Okoye (Sociology)

Majidha Jaman (Social and Political Thought, Sociology)

Tao Yang (Politics and Sociology)

Rebecca Fox (Sociology with Quantitative Methods)

Zainab Ilyas ( Sociology)

Sarah Michaels (Sociology)

Lucy Dunkling (Sociology)

Patrick Lees (Social and Political Thought alumni)

Sarah Staniforth (Sociology alumna)

Sarita Patel (Sociology)

Agatha Barker (Sociology alumni)

Neesha Nhika (Sociology)

Rhea Ebanks-Simpson (Sociology)

Soraya Momoniat (Sociology)

Helena Navarrete Plana (Sociology Alumnae)

Lea Lapautre (Sociology Alumnae)

Ella Hattey (Sociology Alumna)

Jay Kinsella (Sociology)

Hasan Aziz (Sociology)

Rain Girard (Sociology)

Summer Baillarger (History and Sociology)

Nooran El-Faki (Sociology and GSD)

Essyl Harding (Law and Sociology)

Georgina Lord (Sociology)

Amrita Purewal (Sociology)

Sasha Hailey (Sociology alumna)

Katherine S-Williams (Sociology)

Evren Uygun (Sociology)

 

Activism, Campaigns and News

Warwick Labour on Recent Claims in the Boar

We are concerned by some of the unsubstantiated claims made in the Boar about the inclusivity of our society, they are not representative of the experience of our members or of anything that has been said at Lefty Lattes.

We encourage all progressives to come along to Lefty Lattes, we have a range of interesting topics coming up and all details are available on our Facebook page.

Lefty Lattes is Warwick Labour’s weekly discussion event, there is a different subject for discussion every week picked by members, from how to combat anti-Semitism in the party to combating sexual violence on campus. We have specific policy for how our lefty lattes discussions are conducted, it is a non-alcoholic event, held in a wheelchair accessible location, where people are asked to treat each other with respect and to respect what everyone has to say. Prejudiced language is not tolerated, everyone is given an opportunity to share their thoughts on a subject with those who speak least prioritised and encouraged to contribute.

We also have a safer space policy, now enshrined in our constitution, which protects members at all events from prejudice and abuse, additionally, we have just introduced a welfare officer and will soon be launching a welfare inbox for members. We encourage people to contact us via the Facebook page if they have any concerns.

Uncritically reproducing claims from an anonymous survey of only 100 people, which is clearly unrepresentative and open to abuse, without even asking for comment on these claims is journalistic bad-practice par excellence and disappointing to see from the Boar.

Activism, Campaigns and News

our statement

Content notice: rape, racism and sexual violence.

 

We stand in full solidarity with the victims of the comments made in the group chat whose screenshots detailing misogynistic, rape apologist, racist, anti-semitic and ableist language were made public yesterday, as well as anyone who was affected by them. We are appalled by the behaviour exhibited in these chats, and understand it to be part of a broader epidemic of sexual violence in universities, where these comments and behaviour are normalised and even excused under the guise of ‘free speech’ or ‘banter’. This is no laughing matter, 62% of students have reported being subject to sexual violence at their time in university, with 8% of women graduates being victims of rape, twice as much as the rate for women overall in England and Wales (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/02/universities-rape-epidemic-sexual-assault-students). These comments cannot be defended under the right to privacy or under the banner of free speech. For far too long this language has been used behind closed doors without consequence, feeding these ideologies, allowing them to fester into abuse. This doesn’t just stop at written expression, it has drastic consequences as detailed above, which could severely affect the lives of many.

 

It’s time universities took this matter seriously, we hear in mainstream discourse that we need more education to change bigoted views, yet this abuse is being perpetrated by students attending renowned universities. We need more: we need a feminist education, a decolonised and anti-racist education which doesn’t shy away from challenging oppressive views prevalent in our society. Our marketised education system means our universities are more concerned with their public image and looking glossy and polished for prospective students, than actively putting out resources to prevent sexual violence and support the victims of it. (https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/feb/02/universities-reluctant-tackle-sexual-violence-fear-pr-fallout).

 

The university must take a firm and unequivocal stance against the violent sexist and racist behaviour encouraged within the group chat in question, this means holding every participant of the conversation fully accountable for what they have said. Moreover, some of the acts encouraged and praised in the chat involve violently raping and sexually assaulting women & girls and enacting violence against Jewish people and ethnic minorities. This goes beyond accountability and becomes an issue of safety, wellbeing and principle. This blatant disregard for the humanity and wellbeing of women and ethnic minorities, in addition to the promotion of real physical harm against these groups, means that these predators should not be trusted to return back to this university. They should be expelled to ensure the safety of those who they have callously threatened to rape, beat and brutalise.

 

If given the opportunity to remain in this university, these predators will have the access to obtain the societal privilege, power and wealth associated with having a qualification from Warwick. This power will enable them to act on their words in the future, enacting violence on at-risk people whilst being protected by privilege and money thus escaping accountability again and again. The university must end this cycle before it begins. If this university is claiming to be a diverse and inclusive space, it must send a clear message that it does not stand by these views. This should be done by removing and expelling the dangerous predators in question, according to their degree of involvement. They must be dealt with uncompromisingly and unapologetically – along with all other rapists, racists and rape enthusiasts.

 

Most importantly, we should not sensationalise this one incident: disciplinary action for these perpetrators won’t solve the wider problems that made this group chat possible. Sexism, rape apology, racism and antisemitism do not disappear by making these predators disappear. Racist discourses and rape culture will remain firmly in place on campus, in campus groups/societies, in our university accommodations, during our club nights and in wider society until institutions like our university become proactive rather than reactive. This University has failed to do this so far. Here are our demands of this ‘diverse and inclusive’ university:

  1. GET THE PREDATORS OUT.
  2. Make use of the resources that we already have surrounding consent. The #WeGetConsent campaign, amongst other thorough consent campaigns across campuses all over the UK, has great videos that must be distributed and made more visible to all Warwick students.
  3. Repurpose the Piazza big screen, currently used for endless and repetitive self-promotion videos played at students & staff that are already members of this institution, to play consent videos from the SU and other similar videos from liberation campaigns.
  4. Invest more money and resources into the anti-sexist and anti-racist campaigns that students have devoted so much of their time to despite a lack of adequate funding and institutional support. This involves greater support for victims and survivors of sexist and racist abuse.
  5. Enforce consent training and bystander intervention training for students and staff. Bystander intervention training was recently put on the curriculum for first year PAIS students, this must become part of the curriculum for all university departments.

 

We conclude this statement by urging all students to be dissatisfied with bigotry. When you encounter rape apology, sexual violence, misogyny, anti-semitism, nazi ideology, violence against minorities, racist rhetoric, islamophobia, white supremacy, LGBTQ+-phobias, ableism, classism and other forms of prejudice, we urge you to take a stand and speak up in whichever capacity you feel capable and comfortable. (https://www.warwicksu.com/advice/crime/hatecrime/) Do not let predators, violent misogynists and racists fly under the radar or go unchallenged. Sometimes this means exposing group chats like these to ensure the safety of marginalised groups.

 

Signed –

Warwick Anti-Sexism Society

Warwick Anti-Racism Society

Warwick Jewish Society

Warwick Labour

Warwick for Free Education

Warwick Pride

Warwick Enable

Activism, Campaigns and News

“We’re all just different!” How Intersectionality is Being Colonized by White People

Thinking Race...

Intersectionality-01

Working in student affairs on a university campus, I feel like I hear the words “intersectionality” or “intersectional” said out loud at least 20 times a day (no exaggeration). The word is regularly used as a powerful critique from young women of Color about how White feminist staff members don’t seem to understand the violence we enact. Often, though, I hear the term used by White feminist or “social justice focused” staff such as myself.

We use the term in many vague ways. “We really need to be sure our work is intersectional…We need to be more intersectional in how we talk about student identities…Our teaching strategies must be intersectional and culturally responsive.” I don’t use “we” in the royal sense. This is something I do all the time without thinking critically about my meaning.

But what the hell are we even saying when we use the term?

We have…

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Activism, Campaigns and News, Arts and Culture

Behind the Scenes of ‘you did not break us’

‘you did not break us’ is a play by lanaire aderemi (verse writer) based on women who ‘resist the shackles their hands are legs in’. The short play that took place in the University of Warwick on the 27th and 28th of February as well as the 3rd of March is based on true historical accounts in Nigeria such as anti-colonial feminist protests in the East and South as well as girls’ fight for education in the North.The characters performed their solidarity though dance, collective action and poetry.

These photos were taken by Eniafe Momodu(@eniafemomodu) shortly before the play’s final screening at 6pm.