Student Union Leader: Whites Should Stay Home Unless They’re ‘Poor, Disabled, Gay, or Transgender’

A protester gestures she listens to speeches at a gathering in support of the Black Lives
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A student union leader in Britain said black, transgender, gay, disabled, and poor people should be allowed to return to class, while straight, able-bodied white people who are not poor should stay home, out of fear of creating a so-called “second wave” of Chinese coronavirus infections.

Larissa Kennedy warned that British universities could become “the care homes of the second wave”, saying that students have been lied to by the government that “going back to [university as] normal is possible, viable, safe”.

In comments reported by the Mail on Sunday, Kennedy suggested that some students will be safer on campus and therefore should be allowed to return to school, claiming that non-white students should receive special treatment because “we know that students of colour are disproportionately [living] in crowded households and disproportionately hold caring responsibilities.”

The union president said that LGBT people may “find themselves in [family] environments that are homophobic or transphobic, and need to leave those,” and that disabled people might need “equipment, support, other reasonable adjustments” not available at home.

She also said that working-class students may need to be allowed back on campus, as their homes may not “have all the facilities including technology and broadband to study remotely.”

“If we can hold space for students at the margins, for those who, particularly, campus is and needs to be home, then I think we will navigate our way through this situation and ensure that everyone is safe and cared for,” she explained, adding that it is important not to “widen the gap in educational justice” caused by the Wuhan virus.

The 22-year old was elected to her position as president of the National Union of Students (NUS) in April of this year.

Kennedy told The Guardian in August that she has a long history of political activism, previously campaigning against sexual harassment in schools and serving as the president of the antiracism society at Warwick University.

She said that she became interested in “how misogyny, racism, classism and other forms of oppression become reproduced by the education system” and that one of her main goals as president of the union will be to “decolonise” the British education system.

“While it has gained traction, we’ve seen people using the language of decolonisation when they’re actually talking about some random diversity scheme they’re running. I’m wary of the ways that universities are saying, ‘Oh look at us, we’re decolonising’, to make that into something sellable. They assume they can take the language of decolonisation when it really belongs at the grassroots, with students, workers and communities who are doing that work,” Kennedy told the left-wing British paper.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


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