Month: July 2016

Our demands

As we continue to gather evidence on sexual harassment at Goldsmiths, we would like to clarify our motivations and demands in starting this campaign.

As Sara Ahmed wrote in her blog post detailing more about her resignation, there was “one individual who has since left the college after two enquiries” and there have been “six enquiries relating to four members of staff: at least that I know of” at Goldsmiths. Goldsmiths’ clumsy statement on sexual harassment was criticised by the organisers of the Sexual Harassment in Higher Education conference. We agree that Goldsmiths’ attempted appropriation of students’ labour in organising this conference is shameful.

Pro-warden Professor Jane Powell’s more tactful statement on June 6th 2016 was, according to SHHEGoldsmiths, “the first official, public acknowledgement that we have seen of this fact” – the fact being Goldsmiths’ history of sexual harassment. Jane Powell’s sentence reads: “So when cases arise here, as they have, it is simultaneously dispiriting and encouraging. ”  This small sentence, buried in the middle of a 1000+ word open letter speaks volumes, as it tries tirelessly to strike a positive tone. As the organisers of SHHEGoldsmiths explain, they organised the event out of a necessity brought about by Goldsmiths’ institutional silence. The admission that “cases” “have arisen” should not be mentioned amidst an exhalation. These “cases” have poisoned campus life and must be dealt with accordingly. It is not only to the detriment to Goldsmiths students and staff, but to other students and staff all around the world that severe cases of sexual harassment over several years have been buried.

In an email in response to Goldsmiths, we laid out our demands (UPDATED 30th July 2016):

  • We are concerned that students do not have enough information about Goldsmiths’ history of sexual harassment and that other institutions are unaware about the perpetrators’ actions.
  • We are frustrated with the lack of information especially as to whether perpetrators are still at the university and whether this led to Sara Ahmed’s resignation.
  • We think that given this past which Goldsmiths unfortunately has, there should be a clear protocol for students which is not as fear-inducing as making an official complaint can be. It should be clearly written, where someone should seek advice if they are being sexually harassed and how this will be dealt with. It should bear in mind how victims will often not have the confidence or bravery to come forward at the time – only years later.
  • This should not be buried in difficult-to-find policy documents on “Dignity in the Learning Environment” or “Dignity at Work”. These documents, approved by council in December 2009, overlap chronologically with the allegations which we are investigating. We need assurance that these are not empty words.
  • We want Goldsmiths to detail the disciplinary processes which occurred during the period of complaints of sexual harassment including any mishandlings of the complaints.
  • We believe that Goldsmiths should be more active in assuring students that despite past failings, they have learned from them.
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RMIT Melbourne

It has been brought to our attention that Professor John Hutnyk has a position at RMIT University, Melbourne. Apparently he is located on the Melbourne City Campus and is an adjunct professor at the Centre for Global Research. We do not know if this means he is currently undertaking teaching duties or is just named as an affiliate. If he is teaching students we believe that given serious allegations of sexual harassment – which are becoming increasingly concrete – he poses a direct threat to students. If he is not teaching, we do not think that any institution which cares about its students welfare should continue this affiliation. We will be writing directly to them. Their social media accounts can be reached here: Facebook & Twitter.

RMIT-university_160729

Disappearing books

It has been just over 24 hours since we launched the blog. We’ve had more than 25,000 blog views and many tweets of support, many to the attention of Goldsmith’s official Twitter account. Some people have tried to protest Nottingham Contemporary’s event on the Facebook event page and via their official Twitter account.  We appreciate all of this support. We appreciate people helping to spread the word about this blog and our campaign. We have contacted Goldsmiths and Nottingham Contemporary directly to make them aware of our blog. Both have yet to respond publicly or privately.

Although Goldsmiths have yet to respond, we can see that they have noticed our campaign. Most of the books which we photographed in Goldsmiths Library have since been removed – according to the online catalogue they have been taken out for 3 months, even if they are 7-day or 3-day loans. This tells us that someone high-up has removed the books, and not fellow students.

Hutnyk_libra_gold_160727Hutnyk_libra_gold_160727BHutnyk_libra_gold_160727C

 

Let these disappearing books not be a further episode in the disappearing act of Goldsmiths’ history of sexual harassment.

 

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***UPDATE: 29th July 2016 – we have received email contact from Goldsmiths University and Nottingham Contemporary***

Share your experiences

Since launching the blog, we have had a number of people coming forward with information about sexual harassment at Goldsmiths and its cover up. They too, like us, seek to break the silence around what took place at Goldsmiths.

If you would like to share your experiences, please contact us via the contact form on this blog. We will be publishing them in due time. We will keep all accounts anonymous and ask you to remove any information which may identify you individually. We ask you to only tell first person accounts which do not implicate any fellow students or ex-students.

In solidarity,

WWTG

***EDIT: WE WELCOME ALL INFORMATION ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT GOLDSMITHS AND ITS COVER UP. YOU MAY WRITE TO US TO HELP OUR INVESTIGATION AND INDICATE WHICH PARTS YOU DO/DO NOT WISH FOR US TO PUBLISH***