University claims to have launched an immediate investigation into the incident
THE UNIVERSITY of Stirling football team has been accused of racism after around 30 of its players ‘blacked up’ on a night out.
The students turned up at the Cape Bar in Stirling with black painted on to their face, arms and legs in what was described as an African Cup of Nations themed social.
A video has been posted on YouTube of an onlooker accusing the members of the team of being “racist”.
Warning: the below video contains strong language.
There have also been unconfirmed reports that a member of the University’s student radio channel, AirTV, was struck outside the venue while attempting to cover the incident.
Prior to the night, the team’s Twitter account had tweeted: “African Cup of Nations’ social tonight for some of the boys! Still time to grab a late ticket, as well all know SUFC do the best”. The tweet has since been deleted.
National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland Black Students Officer Sanjay Lago told CommonSpace: “The black students campaign are highly against black face because of its historical context but I have faith that Stirling Union will work to make things better.
“The black students campaign will be on hand to show the context on why this disgusting practice and historic racism is not right.”
Roza Salih, NUS Scotland International officer said “This is disgusting and unacceptable behaviour. They are mocking another race and that should not be accepted in our society.”
The University and Students Union have released a joint statement pledging to launch an immediate investigation into the issue
The statement said: “The University and the Students’ Union have a zero-tolerance approach to racism and will respond robustly to any behaviour that does not meet with our values and expectations.
“We are disappointed that the actions of a few are tarnishing the reputation of the University of Stirling, and we wish to reassure students that a full investigation is underway and disciplinary action will be taken against any student found to have engaged in racist behaviour.”
Vicki Burns, campaign manager of Show Racism the Red Card Scotland (SRtRC) told CommonSpace that they would “advise against the practice of blacking up”.
Burns said: “It has very negative historical connotations and harks back to a time when white entertainers would perform for white audiences relying on the mockery of black people’s skin colour and culture for laughs.
“Creating this sense of ‘otherness’ among societal groups laid the foundations for the systematic discrimination and civil rights abuses that also occurred in this time period. I’m sure the members of Stirling University Football Team are not racists and do not wish a return to these times. Hopefully, they will reflect on their actions and conclude that they are inappropriate in a multicultural society.”
This is not the first time that a sports team from the University has been involved in controversy.
In November 2013, a group of students from the hockey team were suspended after being filmed singing sexist songs on a bus. The video was viewed over 150,000 times on Youtube.
At the time, the students who filmed the incident said they were threatened with suspension by the university management for “bringing the university into direpute”.
No one at the University of Stirling football team could be reached for comment.
Picture courtesy of the Tab Stirling