Goldsmiths, University of London has bowed to pressure from student activists and agreed to let “Black & PoC [People of Colour]” students defer essays on grounds of “racial trauma”, based purely on “self-certification”.
“The Uni has agreed to our Sabbs’ [sabbatical officers‘] proposal to include ‘racial trauma’ as a reason to defer essays for Black & PoC students through self-certification, not an evidence based approach,” crowed the Goldsmiths Student’ Union on social media.
“This is great news and a step in the right direction. Well done to those involved in discussions!”
The proposal appears to be the brainchild of one Sara Bafo, described on the union’s website as its “Welfare and Liberation Officer”, who confirmed that the deferral process will indeed be will be “done through self-certification (moving away from providing so called evidence).”
Why white people are not covered by the policy, despite the fact that they can and have been subject to sometimes extremely brutal racially aggravated crimes and even murders in the United Kingdom, is unclear.
The Uni has agreed to our Sabbs' proposal to include 'racial trauma' as a reason to defer essays for Black & PoC students through self-certification, not an evidence based approach. This is great news and a step in the right direction. Well done to those involved in discussions! pic.twitter.com/rGvvfGJX7R
— Goldsmiths SU (@GoldsmithsSU) June 17, 2021
Ms Bafo appears to have extremely strong political views, describing both the United Kingdom and the United States as “imperialist white supremacist nation[s]” and Israel as a “settler colonial state”.
“May we see a free and liberated Palestine in our lifetime. May those who have suffered under a settler colonial state experience true justice in our lifetime,” she declares in the pinned message on her Twitter account — adding, somewhat chilling, “May every oppressive ruler suffer the consequence of their actions in this lifetime and the next.”
In terms of further academic reforms, she is by no means unambitious, advocating — although it is not clear that this is student union policy — for the total abolition of the study of anthropology as an inherently problematic field.
“The only way anthropology can rectify it’s [sic] colonial white supermacist [sic] foundations, is if the discipline cease [sic] to exist,” she explained in 2020.
“If we look at current anthropologist practices, we will recognise that the discipline continues to further colonial rhetorics!”
She is also no stranger to clashing with university leadership, having previously described how she left a “racist” lecturer “crying and worrying about her career” during a mediation triggered by a complaint she had initiated.
I’m looking for a Black therapist because being in these white spaces is not good for my mental health! 😭 pic.twitter.com/O521hPO8TL
— Sara #FreePalestine 🇵🇸 (@SaraBafo1) November 9, 2020