TCS LIVEBLOG: Students and academics rally for Decolonise the Curriculum campaigns

Noella Chye 31 October 2017

Students and academics of the University will be rallying at 5pm on Tuesday, October 31st in support of the Decolonise the Curriculum campaigns in Cambridge, which aim to include BME authors and decolonial perspectives in Cambridge degrees, and in solidarity with Women’s Officer Lola Olufemi following the week of abuse directed against her for her role in the Cambridge campaigns.

Olufemi penned an open letter to the English Faculty in June this year, which has been signed by over 100 students, stating that “… we can no longer ignore […] the fact that the curriculum, taken as a whole, risks perpetuating institutional racism”, and calling for alterations to be made to the curriculum in order to "re-centre the lives of other marginalized writers who have been silenced by the canon.”

She appeared on the cover of The Telegraph on Thursday, October 26th, in an article which was heavily criticised by the University, students and staff for its focus on Olufemi as the face of the campaign, as opposed to its goals. 

The University responded to the article, saying “we condemn the related harassment directed towards our students”

Over 250 people are expected to gather on King's Parade at 5pm today.

The rally was called as a response to the increased national media attention on student attempts to decolonise the curriculum following the coverage of Olufemi's campaign in the media.

The two speakers include Olufemi and Priyamvada Gopal, a fellow of Churchill College and expert in postcolonial literature.

Matt Kite, a spokesperson for Cambridge Defend Education, a campaign against fees, debt and privatisation in education, and student at Robinson College, commented, “The push for the study of non-white authors and scholars is essential: if the norm is that of a colonialist, exclusively white body of texts then the world-view that this university is propagating is insular and narrow-minded.

"Excluding BME writers is bad for students and is also poor scholarship, ignoring the colonial history of our universities and our literary canon. What we teach and learn at universities affects which perspectives, and therefore which people, we consider important.”

TCS will be liveblogging the rally on our Twitter page today.