Edinburgh University Law Students In Race Row After 'Blacking Up' For Somalian Pirate Fancy Dress

Law students at one of the UK's top universities are in the middle of a race row after "blacking up" as Somalian pirates and attending a party.

The students from Edinburgh University dressed up to go to a social organised by their law society, which had an "around the world" theme.

Pictures posted on Facebook and seen by the university's paper the Student showed the students dressed in camouflage trousers, yellow t-shirts and headbands, and had painted their faces and hands dark brown.

Picture supplied by the Student

The costumes have prompted several student societies to speak out in condemnation.

Nadia Mehdi, Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) Vice President for Societies and Activities, told the Student:

“I’m really shocked to see that in this day and age these students weren’t aware of or chose to ignore the offense they would cause by painting their faces black. It’s not acceptable and should not be condoned.

“The Law Society is not a EUSA society so we can’t discipline them but I will be bringing this to the attention of the Law School.”

Keir Barlas, the president the university’s law society, told the Daily Record: “We’re upset and mortified at the costumes and extremely sorry for causing upset to people.”

Keir Barlas, the president the university’s law society, posted a statement on the group's Facebook page, adding he was :

A statement posted on Facebook on behalf of the law society read:

“The fancy dress theme was “All Around the World”. As a society, we try to arrange our events with innovative and interesting themes leaving scope for attendees to use their imaginations. In no way was this theme intended to incite racism or cultural appropriation, and as a society, we are vehemently opposed to discrimination of any form.

"On behalf of the members of our society, we apologise unreservedly for any upset caused. In response to some of the costumes designed, in the future we will strive to ensure that any fancy dress events will actively discourage the use of any costumes that could be perceived as being offensive; if so, the wearers may be denied participation in said event. As a society, we respect our members’ right to freedom of expression; however, cultural insensitivity is intolerable and this is something that we are completely opposed to.

"In light of the ongoing and comprehensive commentary on our Facebook page, I would not propose to discuss any further details.”