The controversial diversity officer at Goldsmiths, University of London could face a vote of no confidence after tweeting with the hashtag “kill all white men”.
Bahar Mustafa has already caused controversy after telling white people and men not to come to a diversity event. She hit the headlines again last week after claiming it was impossible for her racist and sexist because she is an ethnic minority woman.
“I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender,” she said.
“Therefore, woman of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system.”
Now, the Evening Standard reports that angry students have started a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Mustafa, accusing her of being unprofessional and of making students feel “intimidated, unsupported and unrepresented”.
The petition says: “The current Welfare and Diversity Officer has used hate speech based on race and gender. For example the consistent use of hash-tags such as #killallwhitemen and #misandry, and publically calling someone ‘white trash’ under the official GSU Welfare and Diversity Officer twitter account.”
It adds: “Any apologies given have been presented in a way that attempts to shift blame and refuses to see genuine fault in her conduct, which has not changed. The response is still to attack or invalidate students who speak out.”
The petitioners even accuse Mustafa of “spreading slanderous rumours” about a member of staff, accusing them of being “directly responsible” for student suicide attempts. “Blaming any individual for this is never ok, let alone using sensitive student disclosures to support her own agenda,” it adds.
It also accuses her of “oppressing” students who tried to voice their concern and “negative experiences”.
In a response, Mustafa admitted that using the term “white trash” was “not professional”, but defended her use of #killallwhitemen and other hashtags as they are “in-jokes and ways that many people in the queer feminist community express ourselves”.
“It’s a way of reclaiming the power from the trauma many of us experience as queers, women, people of colour, who are on the receiving end of racism, misogyny and homophobia daily,” she said.
If three per cent of the student body sign the petition, Mustafa will be forced to face a confidence vote. However, even if the students do force a vote, it will still take a two thirds majority to remove her from office.