Goldsmiths Students' Union has been forced to backtrack over an event which banned "white and/or male" attendees, following public outcry.
The event, which was a meeting to follow-up the occupation of a university building at the end of March, was held on the ground floor of the London student union's building. Bahar Mustafa, Welfare and Diversity Officer for Goldsmiths SU, initially said in a Facebook post on April 15: "This is a BME Women and non-binary event only.. Don't worry lads we will give you and allies things to do."
However, Mustafa and the other hosts of the event, including Education Officer Sarah El-Alfy, were forced to change their position on excluding potential attendees, writing on the event "ALLIES NOW WELCOME", though the SU refused to clarify what they meant by 'allies' when contacted by HuffPost UK.
The event attracted much criticism, with a blogger for The Spectator asking how "division along racial lines" could be deemed acceptable at a British university, while a senior Goldsmiths SU society president told the Goldsmiths Tab: "For Bahar to have the nerve to write this is patronising beyond belief."
— sam humble (@shumble91) April 22, 2015
In a statement posted to the SU website, the Goldsmiths officer team apologised for the "misunderstanding", saying: "Goldsmiths Students' Union places huge importance on equality and diversity. It is in this vein that we host spaces where specific minority groups who experience similar discrimination can talk together confidently about overcoming the structural disadvantages and prejudice they face in society.
"These types of initiatives are the norm across the student movement and within Students' Unions in the UK. The National Union of Students has full-time officers and campaigns for students who identify as women, BME, LGBT and disabled as they too see the need for these spaces."