Black Lives Matter and King’s College London

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Guy's Kings' statue

On 11th June, King’s College London released a joint statement with Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity stating that they would be removing the statues of Robert Clayton and Thomas Guy from public view.

This was done in response to a student-made petition circulated, asking for the name of Guy’s campus to be changed due to Sir Thomas Guy’s links to the South Sea Company, responsible for transporting slaves to Spanish colonies. While this action was lauded by a few, it also faced pushback from students who felt that removing the statue was a “historical misunderstanding” and distracted from the bigger things that could be changed at King’s.

Earlier in June, a King’s Business School student had been called out owing to racist and offensive posts on social media. The student, Dhruv Shah, had reposted a picture of the “George Floyd challenge” on his Instagram story. He had also been accused of using inflammatory and blatantly Islamophobic remarks against a Muslim student – calling them a “terrorist” and “low life peasant” – after they negatively replied to his story.

When this was brought to their notice via a series of tweets, King’s responded to the original tweet, stating: “Thank you for raising this with us. We do not tolerate racism, or any form of prejudice or discrimination levelled at anyone based on their skin colour, ethnicity, or religion. Such behaviour is subject to our misconduct processes. We are looking into this serious matter.”

When Roar tried to follow up on any updates on the case, both King’s and Dhruv Shah abstained from offering any further comments while the investigation was ongoing.

Another incident which took place on the 11th March was brought to light in which a racial slur was graffitied onto the walls of Guy’s Bar. Both the KCLSU and Guy’s Bar are yet to respond to this.

KCL issued a statement responding to questions about how they intended to respond to incidents of racism as well as more structural problems with racial inequality within the university. Starting with an attempt to increase the ethnic diversity of senior leaders, King’s also promised to support staff and students in sensitively discussing race and racism and identifying and reporting racial microaggressions, as well as continuing to close King’s BME attainment gap and developing inclusive curricula.

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