Students have organised a protest march through campus grounds in response to a recent story in Exeposé that hit national headlines (The Guardian, BBC, The Telegraph, RT, The Sun). A swastika and a sign saying “Rights for Whites” were found by reporters in university accommodation. This follows a white t-shirt social earlier this academic year at which racist and antisemitic slogans were caught on camera.
Students plan to march at 2pm on Monday 20th February from the Forum to Birks, where the swastika was found, past Holland Hall and over to Lafrowda. Participants hope that the march will be recognised as a show of solidarity and clear opposition to racial and religious intolerance at Exeter. This will be followed by a collaborative forum at 6pm to share ideas for tackling fascism in the university, venue to be confirmed. Further details of the event can be found on Facebook.
Alejo Black, who collaborated in organising the march, spoke to Exeposé about the message behind the protest:
“The presence of Nazism and white supremacy on campus is totally unacceptable. The university is home to a lot of people from groups targeted by the Nazis – Jewish students, LGBT students, Roma students, even socialist students, as well as other students targeted by the right such as other ethnic minorities – and these people deserve to feel safe. The people who don’t deserve to feel safe are the Nazis and this march is intended both as a statement of solidarity with students who may feel afraid of the growing presence of the right, and to mark the start of a campaign to send Nazis crawling back into their holes.”
The event is partnered with the Guild’s #WeAreAllExeter campaign which seeks to celebrate diversity in the university and city more widely. Beth Pitcher, Treasurer for FemSoc, also helped organise the march:
“We can’t react to these repeated scandals like they’re ‘just a joke’. They legitimise the very real prejudices and violent views of some students at the University of Exeter. It would be amazing for this to become a yearly event on campus – as yet there is still very little which aims to tackle casual racism, anti-semitism, and prejudice on campus. That’s what #WeAreAllExeter is about.”
The protest is due to coincide with a One Day Without Us demonstration in Exeter, celebrating the contribution of migrants to the UK. Participants from this protest are welcome to join in the campus march too. There will also be a Devon Stand Up To Trump protest on the same evening. February 20th is also the UN World Day of Social Justice.