Monthly Archives: October 2012

UBCU President ‘fancy dress’ racism situation positively resolved

UBCU President ‘fancy dress’ racism situation positively resolved

To the BME community of the University of Birmingham,

Regarding the recent situation with the (now ex) President of the University of Birmingham Christian Union (UBCU), we would like to inform you that this now been resolved.

After calls from BEMA, the Ethnic Minority Students Officer, the Guild of Students, the National Union of Students, and from members of the public, the President of UBCU tendered his resignation on Wednesday night (October 10th).

A written public apology from the ex-President is due to be published in the next issue of the Redbrick Newspaper this Friday (October 12th).

After going through what we deem fair and lenient procedures, BEMA is pleased that a positive outcome has been reached.

We believe that racism in society should never be tolerated and that full responsibility should be taken when acts of ignorance are committed.

We would also like to thank all of the students that came to our open discussion on Monday evening (October 8th) to share their views on the issue and support for our stance.

Our official statement is also due to be posted in Redbrick and reads as follows:

‘We accept Ben’s apology, as we see he has taken responsibility for his actions and is willing to educate himself on liberation issues and white privilege. We have always said publicly, that Ben’s act does not make him a racist, as we understand he was ignorant towards the “Blacking up” issue. We are satisfied that we can move forward from this with a better informed student population, and that zero-tolerance will be taken more seriously at our university. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ben for his apology.’

Also, a quick reminder that our next event for Black History Month 2012 will be on Tuesday, October 16th.  It is a screening of the film ‘Life and Debt’ and there will also be a talk by renowned scholar Cecil Gutzmore.  It shall be held in Arts Lecture Room 7 from 6pm-9pm.  The event is free and will be catered by local Caribbean restaurant Connie’s Cultural Cuisine, so we can plan numbers, please RSVP to .

Hope you are all well,

Many thanks,

BEMA Committee

Guild Council Nominations Deadline & #bemaBHM12 Events List


The deadline for Guild Councillor nominations is this Friday (5th) at 10am, and it would be amazing to see more ethnic minorities standing this year.

Guild Council is the students union’s decision making body, in which representatives of students take votes on motions that affect Guild policy, from anything to do with what events are on at the Guild, to what campaigns the Guild should be supporting. Currently there is a serious lack of ethnic diversity in Guild Council with there being only a handful of us as Guild Councillors despite us making up 28% of the student population. As a result, our voice is ever smaller when it comes to the Guild decision making process.

Obviously, the Guild is a small organisation in terms of the ‘real’ world, but motions do come up that we really could use a stronger voice in. For example, at the end of last year, there was opposition to the Guild supporting the anti-racist, anti-fascist group ‘Unite Against Fascism’, and although the vote passed in favour of support, it was a narrow victory. There are occasions like this in which we should really have a louder voice.

You can stand as a Guild Councillor representing your department, or you can stand as an Open Place Councillor of which there are reserved positions for women and international students. There are only 6 Guild Council meetings over the year, so the commitment is small in terms of time spent on it during term-time.  Also, if you are in the Medical and Dental School, there is one position each for Dental Surgery, Medicine and Surgery, Biomedical Science and Dental Hygiene and Therapy, Medical Science and Nursing and Physiotherapy.

You can get a form from Student Voice in the Guild and will need to write 200 words supporting your nomination. It would be great to see more ethnic minorities standing, and hopefully winning seats in Guild Council, so I would strongly encourage it.

If you want more info, you can message me, or ask our BEMA Guild Councillor, Azfar Shafi (who knows more of the ins and outs of it than I do) for more info!

Also, after an amazing Opening Event for Black History Month on Monday, the full list of events can be seen here.  We have some great, diverse events lined up, so it’s definitely worth coming down to as many as you can!


Areeq Chowdhury

BEMA President