Edinburgh University Sports Union stands with our community in solidarity in the fight against racism. Racism has no place in sport, our University or our society.
After our initial statement of solidarity on Tuesday, we have taken this time to come together to collectively listen and learn from the experiences of the black community, both in our University and globally. As your Sports Union, we want to make clear, genuine statements and commitments to confronting racism in all its forms. We wholly support our black and POC communities and we will demonstrate this through our actions to fight racism in our long term goals and values.
We recognise that as a majority white organisation we have work to do and we must begin by admitting our personal shortcomings and commitment to do better. We encourage white allies to listen, learn, donate, and act in whatever way you can. There are many forms of action we can engage in. Ways to help can be found here: blacklivesmatter.carrd.co
We have read the open letter written by Dorcas Baah, Timmy Pinnick, Martine Irakoze, Mukai Chigumba, and Tumi Akeke addressed to the University and we recognise that as the Edinburgh University Sports Union we must also take responsibility to change and do better for our black and POC students and staff. We can and will be a vehicle for positive change within Edinburgh University.
We want to ensure our newly formed Inclusion Committee, lead by our Vice President - Inclusion and Inclusion Officer, is given the platform to influence our programmes and culture. Our work on inclusion is not limited to participation, it also encompasses building inclusive and safe behaviours, environments and culture within our clubs and sporting community.
We will continue to review our Code of Conduct, making clear our expectations of students and their behaviour, with particular attention paid to zero tolerance of racism, and other forms of discrimination, in any form. We will reiterate our disciplinary procedure and make clear the consequences of breaking this Code of Conduct. This will be sent to all Sports Union members at the beginning of each semester.
We will investigate our procedure for reporting any incident, including those of racism, to ensure accessibility and to reassure those who are affected that these incidents will be investigated and acted upon, not passed over.
Evaluation of our education for students taking part in any of our activity is key, we will look to include a course/workshop on eliminating racism and other forms of discrimination in sport and in the university community to our scheduled training and events programme.
We will collaborate with others in our student sporting network to influence governing bodies and other organisations we work with for a collective positive change and zero tolerance of racism in sport.
We recognise these are small steps to take and we are only at the beginning but this is a long-standing commitment to continuous work towards a Sports Union free from racism and discrimination. This is an ongoing conversation for the Sports Union and we are here, we are listening, and we are acting.
We welcome input from our members and community to aid in the building of a more positive student sporting experience - firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Mutia, Vice President - Inclusion
I know that the last few days have been emotionally tough for everyone who cares about humanity, and especially for our black students. They have been emotionally tough for me too. The video of the brutal killing of George Floyd keeps replaying in my mind – I still find it really hard to get my mind to comprehend what exactly happened; I struggle to find a logical way to explain it – but maybe there is no logic that can ever explain that. It is just pure cruelty – a melting point of hatred towards black people.
Like every black student/person I want to be a part of the generation that puts this to an end. We are not asking for special treatment, just to be treated right. We are not asking to be viewed as special, just as humans. We are not asking to be treated differently, just to be respected. We are not asking for favours, just justice.
It is tiring to have to be the one who always has to try to fit in. It is tiring to always have to act normal when lots of microaggressions are being fired your way even by people in positions of responsibility. It is tiring to always feel like you are a burden being tolerated. It is tiring to constantly receive fake sympathy smiles from people who think that your blackness means vulnerability. In simple terms, it is tiring to be black in a society that views you as inferior.
At this time of a turnaround, I find myself in a very unique position as I get started on my new role as the first ever Vice President: Inclusion of the Sports Union. I realise the privilege that I have been accorded to be in this role, and I know that the recent happenings will help us set our priorities right. We want to make the Sports Union homely for everyone; a place where everyone has the freedom to wear their identity proudly.
We set the VP (Inclusion) role last year in the realisation that as a Sports Union we had a long way to go in terms of understanding the unique challenges that different student categories in our sports clubs face in terms of full participation and in terms of gaining a sense of belonging. We want to understand the minorities better and build systems and support that accommodates all our members regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or financial status. This is not one person’s work and I am happy to be working alongside the Inclusion Committee, SU Staff and the entire Sports Union family to ensure and to find best ways of making all students within and without the Sports Union feel welcome, respected and appreciated.
Sports is a home away from home for many students, and we would love to make it feel so for all students. We want to tackle microaggressions, we want to open up discussions around race - we want to ensure that our club leaders, staff members, and everyone in our clubs attain cultural competence; to understand other cultures, and to have the right skills and empathy to support them. We want to make it possible for our members to speak out whenever they face discrimination.
We will be engaging all of you and counting on all of you to help us build the future that we all want to see. A future in which we are all equal, a future in which we are all humans, and a future in which we respect, appreciate and embrace each other’s uniqueness.
Vice President - Inclusion