BLSA & University Statement - Hate Speech incidents

Read our joint statement with the university on the recent hate speech incidents, what we're doing about it and how you can access support

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Our staff and students are part of a community dedicated to being the most inclusive university of its kind anywhere and have, or will, dedicate their lives to the care of humanity. 

Last week, the University and Barts and The London Students Association became aware of incidents involving both racist language and hate speech. These comments were made through the Mentimeter and Padlet platforms, tools that enable students to make anonymous contributions during interactive sessions in lectures.  There is no place for this behaviour in our community and nobody should be subjected to such language or feel harassed or bullied on the basis of their identity, beliefs, ability or sexuality. We have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of racism or discrimination, and these incidents go against our collective values both here at university and the values and code of conduct we will uphold as future doctors. 

Over the past week staff and students have been working together to investigate the incident and have responded to students who have contacted us. In addition, the following actions have been taken; 

  • The hate speech incident has been reported to the police and there is an ongoing cyber investigation. 

  • All students across the MBBS and Physician Associate Programmes have been contacted via email and signposted to support services. The Head of the MBBS programme also addressed the Year 1 cohort on Monday 25th September. 

  • We have completed a review of the use of anonymous feedback platforms, such as Mentimeter. 

  • The Medical School have investigated the recent incidents with mentimeter. New guidance has been issued to staff on how to use Mentimeter safely as part of their teaching. Both the University and BLSA want to encourage students to use online platforms to participate in education, but are committed to ensuring these are safe spaces for all students and staff. The Medical School are also exploring the use of platforms that allow an option to readily trace those who submit offensive and threatening language and to reduce the use of fully anonymized platforms. 

  • The Medical School will implement training to ensure staff know how to identify, and deal with future incidences in a clear, decisive manner. 

  • BLSA are working with the university and relevant support services to ensure any students who are affected by this incident are supported. 

  • We are exploring how we can offer additional bystander training for racism and anti-racism training for students. 

The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry is also signed-up to the BMA’s Racial Harassment Charter for Medical Schools. We will be reviewing the guidance to understand what further steps we can take to eliminate all forms of racial harassment and hate speech in our community. 

We encourage students affected by this incident to reach out for support; 

  • The Queen Mary Report & Support platform can be used by any student who would like to come forward with additional information on this incident or any other. You can also report anonymously if you prefer. 

  • The IHSE Student Support Service is available and can provide advice and support on how to report any concerns. They can be contacted on ihse-student-support@qmul.ac.uk or you can book an appointment here

  • The Queen Mary Advice & Counselling Service is available to support students with any wellbeing concerns. You can find further information about the service here

  • Information on additional out-of-hours support services available in the local area can be found here

It is clear that racism and hate speech continues to impact people every day – unfortunately this includes incidents within our own community. We know that actions speak louder than words, and tackling racism and hate speech is about more than just sending out statements and running awareness campaigns. We will continue to try and create real change on campus but recognise more needs to happen to tackle racist attitudes, prejudice and hatred. We will continue to work together to address this issue, to support students and staff and to create an environment where everyone is able to have open, honest and uncomfortable conversations when needed. 

We will keep you updated about our response to this incident and any other incidents of racism or hate speech. Our communities here at Barts and The London Students’ Association, Queen Mary Students’ Union and Queen Mary University of London welcome all students and we pride ourselves on being an inclusive community for everyone. We ask for your support in ensuring our community remains welcoming, inclusive and supportive to all.  

Signed, 

 

Amaan Abbas - BLSA President 

Raghuv Kanwar – Vice President Barts 

Kavi Thobhani – Vice President London 

Tia DSouza & Evie Russell – BL Welfare Officers 

 

Serena, Tahmid, Matthew, Aisha & Jovani - Queen Mary Students’ Union Executive Officers 

 

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield - Vice Principal for Health 

Professor Arunthathi Mahendran - Director of the Institute of Health Sciences Education 

Professor Rakesh Patel - Head of MBBS 

Professor Anthony Warrens - Dean for Education 

Professor Jo Martin - Deputy Vice Principal Health 
 

 

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