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Safe spaces (or how SOAS should learn to stop worrying and listen to Muslim women)


Personal disclaimer: I am a former SOAS student and was on the Student Union executive from 2012-13. I am putting this here because I generally refrain from writing analysis or commentary from a first-person perspective, and try to only use the first-person in reporting when writing ‘*said person* told me’. In short, I don’t like making the story about me. But I have my own views on the incidents discussed and am not taking a patronising, detached stance.

The ‘I Too Am Oxford/SOAS’ campaign led by black and South Asian students in March – drawing on similar US campaigns – was a potent reminder of racism in the British academy. They were asserting their right to be in ‘elite universities’ in a system where only 85 of 18,500 professors are black. Constituting ‘safe spaces’ and removing individual ‘racists’ can’t dismantle racism in universities – racism is a more pervasive…

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