JULY 2020 SUMMER ISSUE
NEWS FIT FOR KING’S SINCE 1973
Best Student Publication in London, SPA Awards 2018
Pa ge 2
The impact of COVID-19 on KCL students King’s contributions Students’ experiences
Charles Amos and the KCLCA: a Retrospective Thomas Guy: A Debate
e g a P 16 Page 12
EU Students to Lose Home Fee Status in England from 2021
Philosophy Bar to Shut Down Page 7
An Interview with a US Prisoner Last page
K LONDON ING’S
RO A R ’ S E D I T O R I A L T E A M Editor in Chief
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Virjinia Vassileva Culture Editors email@example.com Matthew Ader Shuprima Guha Sam Light
Nikita Dahiya Shuprima Guha
Alfie Wilson Podcast Editors
Isabella Sheekey Samuel Pennifold
B lac k L i v e s Mat t e r : A Jo i nt St at ement Ro ar St an d s Wit h t he B L M Mov ement 25, 2020, a man named George Floyd O nwasMaymurdered on the street in Minneapo-
We at Roar News, The Oxford Blue, The Strand Magazine, The Boar, The Saint, The Gaudie, London Student, The Stag, The Teeming Mass, Concrete, Varsity, and Forge Press stand together in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We must take the steps necessary to bring about change. We should all have the right to live, the right to exist – the right to breathe. We are all responsible and must all work together to make a change.
When They See Us – Ava DuVernay
lis by a now-former police officer. He was held Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People down with a knee to his neck for almost nine About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge minutes - begging for breath, and for his life. Written by award-winning journalist Reni EdHis death has sparked a vital conversation around do-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White systemic racial inequalities across the globe, as People About Race touches upon everything well as the need to challenge injustice. We must from whitewashed feminism to the politics of learn, take action, and never simplify the story. eradicated black history. It is widely acclaimed Token statements cannot resolve these issues, and largely considered “essential” to helping but knowledge, ideas, sacrifices, and an aware- understand the nature of race relations in the ness of our responsibility and complicity can. United Kingdom – where the author is based.
This 2019 Netflix miniseries is based on the events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case, which saw five male POCs falsely accused of (and further prosecuted on grounds of) rape in New York. It revolves around the lives of the suspects and their families in an attempt to depict their struggles and evoke empathy. Because of its powerful depiction of the large-scale legal failure, the series has been nominated for various awards and has had its fair share of controversy – Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor of the original case, filed a defamation lawsuit against Netflix and DuVernay in its wake.
The Color Purple – Alice Walker Presented as a series of letters, The Color Purple depicts the life, trauma, and eventual triumph of a young African-American girl in 1930s America. While the novel also addresses themes of gender equality, its primary focus is racial discrimination. Though Pulitzer Prize-winning and generally critically acclaimed, is has also been the subject of controversy - The Color Purple is #17 on the American Library Association’s list of “Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009”. It is often censored or removed from educational reading lists entirely. 13th – Ava DuVernay This 2016 documentary explores “the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States,” with the title being a reference to U.S. Constitutional Amendment which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. The film argues that slavery was merely replaced by systemic policies which directly or indirectly target the AfricanAmerican population, and is critically acclaimed, with a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In many cases, issues of racial inequality run through the core of academic study and student life. Below this statement is a template letter you can send to your university chancellors and heads Find an extended list of anti-racist media, the temof department to call for action. The letter encourplate letter and all of our coverage on the Black Lives ages changes to the curriculum and for anti-rac- Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire – Akala Matter movement on our website: roarnews.co.uk ist resources to be made available to all students. The Sunday Times bestseller focuses on the author’s We have also put together a collection of literature own experiences regarding race and racism. Akala, and other media related to anti-racism, which we who is a renowned British musician and journalist, hope will be helpful for all. This list, like others, uses the personal as a lens for analysing the politiis far from complete, but it is crucial that we en- cal – in this case, the global phenomenon of racgage in as much learning as possible. By work- ism. The book touches upon sensitive topics such ing collectively, we can educate one another, as police brutality and objectification, and “speaks bring about change, and make our voices heard. directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class.” Now is the time to take a stand. To remain silent protects a system that perpetuates injus- Black Skin, White Masks – Frantz Fanon tice. Have overdue discussions with your friends and families. Condemn racist actions and un- Written by Martinique political philosopher and provoked police violence against civilians and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White journalists. Sign petitions, and if you are in the Masks discusses and critiques racism and its deposition to do so, donate to charitable organisa- humanising effects, particularly in regard to cotions in need. Protest safely, and protest loudly. lonialism. Fanon presents his own experiences alongside historical precedent, utilising his backWe encourage any and all fellow student publica- ground to psychoanalyse the conditions which tions to join us in standing with this movement. often result from systemic racial discrimination. Sincerely, Your Roar News Editorial Team
News Editors Shuprima Guha Sam Light
B lac k L i v e s Mat t e r an d K i n g ’s C o l le g e L o n do n
The News Team
Ni k i t a D a h i y a
S o c i al Me di a E ditor
11th June, King’s College O nLondon released a joint state-
ment 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.
tweets 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.
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.
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.”
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 conEarlier in June, a King’s Business When Roar tried to follow up tinuing to close King’s BME atSchool student had been called on any updates on the case, tainment gap and developing inout owing to racist and offensive both King’s and Dhruv Shah clusive curricula.
E U St u dent s t o L o s e Ho me Fe e St at u s i n E n g lan d f ro m 2 0 2 1
Tara Sahgal Editor in Chief
Javier Rodriguez Staff Writer
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Sara Khash Staff Writer
Asher Gibson Comment Editor
Sarah Saeed Staff Writer
Marino Unger-Verna Comment Editor
Sebastian Baciu Staff Writer
Nikita Dahiya Social Media Editor
Sophia Mencarelli Staff Writer
Helen Kursten-Holmes Staff Writer
Stella White Staff Writer
M a r i n o Un g e r- Ve r n a C omm e nt E ditor
statement released on June 23, the UK CounI ncila for International Student Affairs confirmed
ronment in our universities, benefitting all students, and are an integral part of our society and culture.”
that new EU/EEA/Swiss students beginning their studies in England from 2021/2022 onward will KCLSU and Student Response no longer be eligible for Home Fee status or financial assistance from Student Finance England. When asked their view on the issue, the outgoing KCLSU leadership team told Roar: “The decision to reStudents affected will have to apply for study in the UK move home status and access to Student Finance Engvia a new immigration system, expected to be imple- land for EU nationals will no doubt impact the qualmented from 1st January 2021. Those students will ity of experience of our members, for a variety of then have to pay the relevant international fees for different reasons including but not limited to student their programmes. Current students and those be- experience, marginalisation and increased expectations. ginning their studies this year will not be affected. “In terms of student experience, this decision has In a written statement, Universities Minister Michele the potential to limit the exposure of our memDonelan stated: “EU, other EEA and Swiss students, bers to students from Europe, as well as impacting staff, and researchers make an important contribu- the ability to have a diverse learning environment. tion to our universities. I want that contribution to continue and am confident – given the world-leading “Similarly, in terms of marginalisation, this would quality of our higher education sector – that it will.” potentially impact our current EU students in regards to their sense of belonging, furthermore creHigher Education Policy Institute director Nick Hill- ating a need for the KCLSU to support them man takes a different view, saying the announcement with regards to them understanding their rights. would “be seen as bad news inside universities.” According to Mr Hillman, these new fee regulations could lead to a “Finally, there is the possibility of increased expectadecline of EU students studying in England by approxi- tions. With increased fees, there will come increased mately 60%, which would result in universities being “less expectations, therefore increasing the need to endiverse and less open to influences from other countries.” sure a quality education and experience for students. This potential reduction of fee-paying students comes after a recent London Economics report found that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will likely lead to fewer Freshers in the upcoming academic year. Universities UK issued a statement of solidarity in line with that of the Universities Minister. They said: “Overseas students – from the EU and beyond – should be able to study in the UK with minimal barriers. International students enhance the educational envi-
“I think it will definitely decrease the amount of interest from foreign students in British universities. From my view, as someone who didn’t attend my first choice university due to costs, this will be so disappointing for families who will no longer to able to afford tuition.” Another King’s student from an EU nation said: “As I am already studying at King’s, and this is my last year, I do not feel I have the right to have a strong opinion, as this does not affect me as much as it may affect my classmates or incoming students. However, I am very curious to see what impact this decision will have on the number of future European applicants and the quality of education provided. It would be logical for European application rates to drop, but it will be interesting to monitor the impact on the quality of education and students themselves.
“Most of my friends from lower grades had already switched their attention to Germany and The Netherlands even before Brexit, but there were still a few who were considering “Moving forward, what is crucial is that the KCLSU looks England. Some of them are now rethinking their decisions.” to better understand this issue from the perspective of its EU students, while ensuring that it has a robust plan in King’s has yet to comment on the issue. place to support its current and potential EU members.” A Liberal Arts student from the UK, who wished to remain anonymous, told Roar: “It’s something that I knew would happen eventually because of Brexit, but it’s still an unpleasant shock to the people who will be affected.
A r t s & Human it ie s Fac u l t y F re e z e s G TA H i r i n g M a t t h e w Ad e r D e put y E dit or
KCL Arts and Humanities T he Faculty froze graduate teaching
assistant (GTA) hiring for September 2020. GTAs do not have longterm contracts – rather, they are rehired every year. If the freeze is not lifted, every GTA in the faculty will be made redundant. While the full freeze is unlikely to continue, this measure has introduced serious uncertainty for many postgraduate research students (PGRs) who rely on the income from teaching to support themselves. This is especially true since that faculty also notified PGRs that, no matter what, there will be fewer teaching opportunities in the next academic year.
positions will be reduced or scrapped. And if teaching is going to move online, King’s must commit to adequate paid training for this new way of working. Either way: management must be working to one scenario or another. We need to be kept in the loop and included in the decision-making process. We need to see that King’s cares for our mental wellbeing, our professional development, and our financial stability in these challenging times.” The situation is not entirely bleak. In February, King’s management agreed to a proposal to increase GTA budgets for the Arts & Humanities, Social Science & Public Policy, and Natural & Mathematical Science faculties. In particular, more money would be assigned to paying for lesson preparation and marking – as GTAs are currently paid just 2 hours a week for preparation, which is generally insufficient. Whether this commitment will survive COVID-19 remains to be seen.
Roar reached out to the Fair Pay for GTAs (FP4GTAs) campaign to get some sense of the GTA view on the situation. We also sought comment from the Arts and Humanities Faculty. A King’s College London spokesperson responded: “We fully understand everyone’s concerns about future planning. We re- What can be done? main committed to providing teaching and learning opportunities and GTAs are, to quote the campaign, GTAs will continue to be part of this.” “so swamped with our PhDs, jobs for side income or main income, and in How bad is it? many cases, family responsibilities, that most of us don’t have time or First, this hiring freeze has serious can’t afford to take action [to protest impacts on PGR research and career poor treatment].” While King’s does prospects. One student said simply have forums to consult PhD students, that, “Not being able to teach next year the campaign sees little link between will mean having to leave London be- these discussions and substantive acfore the end of my PhD.” This applies tion. Given how busy most postgraduto new and experienced GTAs alike. ate researchers are, and the transient Simone, a fourth-year PhD student nature of their position at the college, who has taught four separate modules options to apply pressure are limited. across three years, said she had been “relying on the prospect of continued Nonetheless, FP4GTAs has pledged GTA work next year,” and further not- to “keep putting pressure on the Coled that the freeze decision was “desta- lege to provide support and security bilising and difficult to deal with.” to their precarious staff.” They will do this through collaboration with The problem has longer term im- other GTA campaigns around the pacts. The academic job market is country. Striking as part of a broadhighly competitive under normal er UCU effort is also on the table. circumstances – COVID is likely to make things even harder. “To stand Students wishing to support their efout,” one student said, “PhDs have forts should sign and share this open to ensure we have plentiful experi- letter about the hiring freezes. “If you ence.” The loss of GTA work entails feel confident”, the campaign says, cost to CVs and to professional de- “make a fuss on social media and velopment, exacerbating existing share our story.” The more public presinequities in academia to the disad- sure, the more likely it is for KCL to vantage of early career researchers. respond. Writing opinion pieces for Roar or other student publications is When and how will King’s respond? also encouraged. The campaign further emphasises that this issue is strucRoar has not received any com- tural. They say we should “Ask them ment from King’s on when a re- [KCL] to ensure people on short term sponse might be forthcoming. contracts don’t lose their jobs at the last minute. Put pressure on KCL to Fair Pay for GTAs provided a com- retain cleaners and other professional ment, outlining their position on how services staff to ensure no one in the King’s should respond to this issue: King’s community is left abandoned during this already difficult time.” “We understand that universities across the country are facing uncer- The most important and practical tainty. We know that there are some point is to be understanding of GTAs questions that can’t be answered yet. – and indeed all teaching staff – who But we are calling on King’s for trans- have seen their workloads expand draparency. No conversation about us matically to cope with online teaching should be happening without us. King’s and assessment marking. Demanding need to commit to providing paid op- that KCL pay them for this overtime portunities for alternative training would also be a good idea, they say. and professional development if GTA
K i n g ’s C o m p ly w it h C h i ne s e I nt e r net Re s t r ic t io n s f o r On l i ne Te ac h i n g Asher Gibson C o mm e nt E dit o r
College London, in testK ing’s ing new online teaching links for students in China, will be required to comply with Chinese laws on internet restriction, the BBC reported.
Education Policy Institute, he argued that “while one can sometimes find tangible evidence in the form of conversations, emails, letters or other means that pressure has been placed, with much self-censorship the act itself is invisible – it occurs in people’s heads, before and as they write and is very private.”
This is to enable students who are not able to enter the UK for on-campus learning in September to continue their studies. Yet it means that King’s may be prevented from A 2019 report by a House of Commons Allteaching certain material, though what Party Foreign Affairs Committee warned material may be affected is not yet clear. that the government and universities have failed to adequately respond to “mounting King’s, Queen Mary University of Lon- evidence” that “autocratic states” would don, York, and Southampton are the four aim to undermine UK academic freedom. universities involved in the pilot project, which is being run by the Joint Infor- The report concentrates “in particular on mation Systems Committee (JISC) who Russia and China”, stating that that “our provide digital services for universities. evidence suggests that both have engaged in overt and covert interference in the While universities struggle to secure affairs of the UK and its partners.” The online teaching amidst the COVID-19 report claims that “China largely works pandemic, new concerns from stu- within the system but aims to change dents arise which fear Chinese in- it to suit its own goals, which may be ternet restriction laws will prevent very different from those of the UK.” them from accessing some resources. According to the Kings’ financial stateA JISC spokesperson said the project will ment for 2018/19, 2,875 students at KCL not give students free access to the inter- are domiciled in China (excluding Hong net and students will still only be able to Kong). They made up 35.25% of nonaccess “resources that are controlled and EU, full fee-paying students (8,155), and specified” by King’s. These resources will 8.7% of King’s students in total (32,895). have to be on a “security ‘allow’ list, which will list all the links to the educational The same financial statement declares that materials UK institutions include in their 44% of its revenue came from tuition fees course materials”, JISC told the BBC. last year, that 13% of this was from 3,823 overseas undergraduates. This means Universities UK said that it was “not that approximately 10% of Kings’ tuition aware of any instances when course fee revenue, and 4.4% of their revenue in content has been altered” and uni- total, could come from Chinese students. versities have rejected accusations that this is accepting “censorship”. This figure does not account for the proportion of Chinese students on certain However, King’s professor Kerry courses. At King’s, STEM departments ofBrown expressed concerns over the ten charge higher tuition fees for overseas risk of academics engaging in “self- students, so the real percentage could be censorship” and how its impact on higher or lower than this. It also makes no UK academia might be unclear. claims about individual students’ politics or research output. In an essay published by the Higher
W hat D o St u dent s T h i n k o f On l i ne E x am s ? Shuprima Guha
Ne w s & An aly t i c s E ditor
were held online this E xams spring, which was a change wel-
comed by some but disliked by others. We asked 32 students how they felt. Here’s what they had to say... Arts & Humanities “We had three essays due the end of April. However, in light of the current situation, one professor cancelled the essay and the other two proceeded as normal with a week’s extension given. Overall, the department was quite understanding of their students’ needs and were not hesitant in handing out deadline extensions in case anyone needed them.” ~ Shuprima, Digital Culture “I feel that my department really took everyone’s varying situations into consideration. All our exams were made prior disclosure (essentially, essays that we had a week to finish) and the word count was reduced to half for all essays. For one of our modules which had a mid-semester assignment, they gave us the option of not handing in a final essay at all.” ~ Nikita, English “I thought a having 24-hour open book online exams were useful to an extent. Though exams allowed me to answer 2 essay questions in 24 hours, I did find it a little hard to concentrate at home as I have young siblings.” ~ Anonymous, History “It was unclear as to how much detail I had to give in my answers. Some descriptions said to treat the exams as if they were written, closed-book, and timed, so to be laissez-faire with details, quotes, and references. But, I don’t know if this was supposedly the case for all and, if it wasn’t, I wonder if I may have inadvertently underperformed in those exams. I’m a first-year, so ultimately the marks are pass-fail and it doesn’t matter, but I would have liked to know that my marks really do reflect my abil-
ity for my own sense of content- the safety net.)” ~ Fanni, Economics ment.” ~ Anonymous, Liberal Arts Law “I am unhappy with the way exams were carried on this semester because “24-hour exams were on the whole I believe there was a lack of organisa- less stressful than in hall exams where tion. It is not fair to be informed that we have a limited amount of time. the weight of your essay will be in- In that sense, it was easier. Howcreased from 50% to 100% (to make ever, I found writing essays while up for not having an exam). Overall, stuck indoors was much more chalI think King’s suffered from a severe lenging and it was much easier to lack of organisation and tried to get distracted.” ~ Anonymous, Law make the exam session in the easiest way possible without really thinking “There was a lack of sufficient notice if that would be easiest or best for the for the exam dates and despite pleas students.” ~ Anonymous, Liberal Arts and suggestions from students to alter the examination process to suit the “My only issue was with the practical exceptional circumstances this year, modules because we rely on human little was done by the department. contact and on the physical presence However, it should be noted that we of examiners and an audience. In our were allowed plenty of time to comcase, we had to submit a recording of plete the assessments and I did not exour recital pieces for the performance perience any errors when uploading module, which didn’t prove ideal my assignments.” ~ Anonymous, Law considering our amateur recording equipment and, in the case of soloists, Life Sciences and Medicine the lack of accompaniment. What is more, another module that suffered “The noise at home was difficult from this format was aural skills, but the 24hrs facilitated the abilwhich is meant to test your practi- ity to take them at the quietest time cal musicianship. ~ Foivos, Music and limit the stress of exams.” ~ Anonymous, Biomedical Science “I prefer online exams to in-person exams. Plus, not having to com- “Positive: at least exams were open mute and get up at seven in the book. Negative: very different exmorning to get there is definitely aminations across departments. I better.” ~ Anonymous, Philosophy felt bioscience students had some of the strictest requirements (exams King’s Business School in all 7 subjects under a time limit of 1-2 hours) whereas I know his“Overall experience is positive, how- tory students whose assignments ever, there were issues with the word were cancelled and/or shortened. limits and page limits for some of the Time periods for examination were exams. Other than that, the university much more relaxed for others. I felt has been very supportive and helpful I definitely spent more time studyduring these trying times.” ~ Anon- ing than students from other deymous, Banking and Finance MSc partments.” ~ Lynn, Neuroscience “I think it was okay, even though it took me a lot of time (usually 8-10 hours) to finish the 24-hour exams it was still much less stressful than the usual exam period (especially with
it was basically a copy-paste paper. Questions were not made keeping in mind the open book pattern and topics that weren’t taught due to cancellation of classes showed up in mandatory sections of the paper.” ~ Rhea, Biomedical Engineering “Lack of clear instructions, being bombarded with emails every day, late replies from dept, just awful all in all. Should’ve cancelled exams in light of COVID-19 when everyone is so stressed already.” ~ Chris, Physics “Pretty seamless. Couple of problems. Early exam times and hard to keep silence in the house with other family members.” ~ Dhruv, Physics MSci Political Economy “Mixed experience - one module extended our coursework deadline (originally 20th March) to the end of May. They also got rid of the exam we would have done. Second module replaced exam with essay, but the exam didn’t originally include a full essay and we were given little technique guidance on how to write an economics essay for the first time. However, we did have 7 weeks to do it and it was 1500 words so this was somewhat positive. They didn’t want to do the exam because it involved MCQs, however other departments just made it so the MCQ exams were timed: this would have been easier to revise for as the exam was the same format as one we did in January. The change to an unfamiliar essay perhaps caused extra stress.” ~ Eleanor, Political Economy
“Difficult, I felt like I did badly because it was impossible to concentrate in this environment, especially for low-income students who don’t Natural & Mathematical Sciences live in big houses or even have a desk, I had to do essays and exams sitting “Not enough time was given, exams in bed.” ~ Anonymous, Politics were based on memorising content so when it became open-book,
G K T C o me d y Re v ue : A n E v e rla s t i n g I n v e s t ig at io n Vi r j i n i a Va s s i l e v a D e p ut y E dit o r
irst year Theology student Lucy Lowe has submitted a Stage 2 Complaint Form after attending the play “Situational Judgement Day,” describing it as “deeply offensive and insensitive”. The venue was hosted by GKT Comedy Revue back in November. An investigation followed, but as of June 26, no final decision has been made. Lucy attended the play on November 21. After seeing it, she has expressed her concerns with King’s in a formal email, followed by an official complaint in early December. Some of the problematic scenes and dialogues she refers to include:
K i n g ’s S e x ual Har a s s ment Su r v e y Re v e al s Sp o r t s Te am s Involved Sara Forgaciu St af f Wr it e r
from a sexual harassment R esults survey conducted by The King’s
left there unconscious by a member of the King’s community– she Tab have been published today. 30% does not wish to make any furof people surveyed reported receiv- ther comments at this stage. ing unwanted sexual attention from members of the King’s community. Another student tells us a KCL football player repeatedly harassed her According to respondents, sev- on nights out in the student bar eral KCL sports teams have been even after she asked him to stop. involved in sexual misconduct. Football, hockey, and rugby team Last year The UCL rugby team members are all mentioned on sev- was de-ratified as a result of simieral occasions as having taken part. lar complaints indicating that instances of misconduct could be Shockingly, 88% percent of students a part of a more endemic issue. asked were unaware of how to report sexual harassment at King’s. All sports teams mentioned On top of this, half of those have in the article have said that reported harassment were unsat- they are taking the allegations isfied with how it was handled. against their members seriously The survey is anonymous, and no At King’s, sexual misconduct is connames have been given for the al- sidered a disciplinary offense – sancleged aggressors at this time. tions for this behavior can include expulsion, suspension, revoking student After looking further into the is- status. sue, we found multiple sources that validated the survey responses. One student claims that she was sexually assaulted in a park and
- A song ridiculing stillbirth named “Floppy Baby” in which addiction and brain damage was ridiculed; - A scene which turned the suicide of a stressed medical student into a joke – “the student in the sketch told his parents he was considering jumping off Guy’s tower and then shot himself off stage. After his suicide his parents responded with: ‘lets make another one’”; - Scenes that made light of Schizophrenia; - Scenes that ridiculed those with sexually transmitted diseases; - Scenes depicting racial jokes and inappropriate behaviour and others. Lucy also mentions there were a few scenes with full-frontal nudity, which caused discomfort to some of her friends. She also points out that “filming was permitted during the show meaning that images of completely nude students could now be circulating the internet, with a large sign of KMT behind them”. However, students recall there has been a warning message on the play’s poster on the KCLSU website highlighting the presence of nude scenes. No other warning signs were present at the venue itself, and students do not recall any other indications of the severity of the humour. The overall reaction of the audience has been mixed with some laughs, but long-lasting silence after particular scenes. According to Lucy and other witnesses, there were staff members at the venue. One student who wished to remain anonymous shared: “If I recall correctly, there were members of staff from Guy’s Campus present at this event - how is their participation in this event consistent with the
promise of the “King’s Strategic Vision 2029” to ‘foster an inclusive culture’”. Timeline: After Lucy issued the complaint in early December, she was told an investigation would take place. She was kept updated until mid February. Following the procedures, outlined in G31 Student Complaints Regulation, she has received an email on February 11, stating the investigation is near completion. On February 27, she was told that “the group has appealed the decision; thus extending the investigation further”. As of mid June, she has not received any further information neither regarding King’s initial decision, nor the further development of the appealing process. She has therefore contacted Roar: “I have been complaining to King’s for 7 months, and I truly believed that they would do something about it. I didn’t want to annoy anyone by telling the press but it’s gone too far. The email from Professor Marion Thain about BLM really pushed me over the edge - I have no evidence to suggest KCL cares about Black lives.” According to students the play included racist jokes and comments including a kiss between a white and a black student captioned as a “chocolate surprise” and inappropriate accent imitations. Following these events, Roar contacted GKT Comedy Revue and the KCLSU in mid June. Both organisations confirmed the outcome is still in discussion without disclosing any further details. In the meantime, GKT Comedy Revue published a statement on their Facebook page on June 14, highlighting they “have never intended to offend any particular group and apologise for the times when (they) have caused hurt”. It is unclear whether the statement is referring to “Situational Judgement Day” and the negative reactions the play has sparked. On June 18, the organisation created a form, urging students to share their past experiences and provide recommendations for future plays. As of June 26, Roar has not been informed of a final outcome of Lucy’s complaint. King’s has footage of the entire play, but did not disclose such information neither with Lucy, nor with Roar.
P h i lo s o p h y B ar t o S hu t D ow n Shuprima Guha
Ne w s & An aly t i c s E ditor
yet another blow to King’s venues, gether this amazing venue, charac- wearing rugby players in Guy’s Bar?” KCLSU has had to make difficult I nKing’s College London’s infamous terised by wonderful and charismatic decisions and prioritise its services Philosophy Bar is likely to shut down. individuals. With this being said, we Nikita, a first-year English student, It is still unclear as to whether this will miss you all - but, hopefully, we said: “I have only been to Phil Bar a decision is temporary or permanent. will see you soon! handful of times, but its atmosphere remains unparalleled – it was so warm Located inside the Norfolk Building Lots of love, and welcoming and made you feel on Strand Campus, Philosophy Bar just a little bit better after a long day. has remained a favourite for students The Philosophy Bar Team” Hard to believe it’ll be gone soon.” at King’s for several years. It has been a go-to space for students to unwind Students are understandably dis- To add fuel to the fire, Philosophy after classes as well as a popular venue heartened and reminiscent about Bar is not the only King’s Venue to for several society events and socials. Philosophy Bar’s closure. Marino, close this year. Nought, KCLSU’s Comment Editor for Roar said: “Phil Zero-Waste Shop at Guy’s CamThis is not the first instance Philoso- Bar has never won awards for be- pus, is also scheduled for closure. phy Bar has been scheduled to shut. In ing the cheapest place to get a drink, Nought had only begun operating 2016, the bar, then known as the Sports but it has a special place on campus. this academic year and its closure and Social Club Bar was set to close That cramped little sports-bar-that- is unwelcome news for all students after an alleged brawl, involving an at- isn’t-a-sports-bar will be missed.” who were looking to be environmentack on students and bar staff. Howevtally conscious shoppers on campus. er, this time a closure is far more like- In a similar vein, a Classics student ly, a major reason being COVID-19. told Roar: “I desperately hope it finds Regarding Nought’s closure, Sanju, a An anonymous source from KCLSU a way to come back, I can’t think of an- first-year Psychology student said: “I also told Roar that the Bar had been ywhere else at uni I’d rather to go and think that Nought closing is quite a running a loss, which further neces- have a pint after a particularly difficult tragedy, given that it gave us easy access sitated this decision being taken. lecture or seminar. If I’m honest, it’s ex- to environmentally friendly options actly what I was hoping for from a uni for so many things at reasonable pricNews was shared through an Insta- bar and I think it’s one of KCL’s hidden es as well – it’s a huge loss to the King’s gram post on June 29: gems - it’ll be a real shame to lose it.” community, and to the planet really.” “Dear Philosophy bar family,today we received the heartbreaking communication that Philosophy bar will not re-open this upcoming September. We don’t know if this will be a permanent solution or just temporary, due to COVID-19, for the next academic year. Nevertheless, even though this might represent an “end of an era” for some of you, we hope that the memories, the people, and the amazing selection of alcohol found withing this emblematic space will be cherished by all. A special “Thank you” goes to Roberto, as he managed to put to-
Another King’s student reminisced about the uniqueness of Philosophy Bar, saying that “It is an oasis of dimly lit academic throwback in the midst of an increasingly soulless campus. Its loss will be deeply felt not only by my dear friends and I, but more importantly by the Bob Dylan Doppelgänger who lives there, and I fear what will become of him now. Will he disappear back to a saloon bar in Nashville forever, or will we ever find another cultural home for those who don’t want to have their drinks knocked over by toga-
to students. As part of this, we have unfortunately taken the decision to permanently close two of our commercial outlets, Nought and Philosophy bar, both of which even before Covid-19 were operating at a loss.
“We know both outlets had loyal followings and we want to thank all our customers and staff for all their support and hard work and dedication in Nought and Philosophy bar over the past few years. We will be sharing some great memories from both outlets in the coming weeks. “We are committed to providing a fantastic student experience in our remaining outlets and looking forward to seeing everyone back in our spaces once we re-open. We will put in new measures to make sure you and our staff are all safe and can observe social distancing.
“We will have more news about what to expect in term one over the summer, so watch this space and keep an These closures were announced in a eye on our social media channels and recent meeting with the KCLSU staff. website for ways you can get involved, find support, make connections and Update [02.07.2020 17:30] have fun through KCLSU in 2020/21.“ The KCLSU has released a statement on the closure of the Philosophy Bar and Nought: “The Covid-19 situation and current social distancing guidelines means we’ve had to look at how we run our commercial venues and manage our finances. When looking at our financial picture for next year,
K i n g ’s A lum n i i n t he Pro c e s s o f C re at i n g A ug ment e d Re al it y Pro du c t s Vi r j i n i a Va s s i l e v a D e put y E ditor
outbreak of the pandemic T he changed many lives and will have a long-term impact on everyone. King’s alumni, Sally Morris, is helping by developing augmented reality (AR) products and giving all revenue to the NHS and the UK government. The money would go for services like healthcare, transport education, reconstruction, and others.
keep students engaged. Students may also be able to learn skills, essential for their career paths, through simulated experiences. In addition, AR would potentially serve as a good substitute for events that may not be allowed due to social distancing practices. As the pandemic affects people of all ages and backgrounds, Sally’s team is planning to introduce products tailored for different ages. They aim to work with children, students, graduates, patients, and people with special needs. When focusing on students, the team’s hopes are to sell the products to the universities. Those would then be used during Freshers’ Week and lectures throughout the year. Meanwhile, all revenue would be “distributed between the NHS and UK’s government for medical support and economic recovery from the modern pandemic”.
Sally Morris graduated from King’s Department of Informatics in 2015. She has been working in the sphere of software development and management and data and business analysis ever since. The outbreak and appaling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic urged her to seek a way to help. Together with three other colleagues from different universities, Sally is currently working on the development and production of AR products. Her team believes these would “enhance learning and social ability experiences at Sally could not disclose further details universities” during chaotic times. regarding the products, as the team is in the process of data gathering. You AR products can manipulate reality by can contribute to the research here. adding non-existent virtual elements The team urges people to participate, in order to create or enhance experi- as they need to gather as much data ences. According to the team, such as possible in order to proceed with products would illustrate theoreti- their project. cal concepts more clearly and would
C ov id - 1 9 Re s e arc h : W hat KC L i s D o i n g t o T u r n t he T ide M a r i n o Un g e r- Ve r n a C omm e nt E ditor
College London has King’s a reputation as a leading research university. The university was ranked sixth nationally in the Research Excellence Framework’s 2014 report, and seventh in Times Higher Education’s similar rankings. With 84% of KCL research deemed “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”, what is the university working on in the face of the current Covid-19 pandemic? Symptom
The app, Covid Symptom Tracker App, was launched in late March by a group of KCL and Guy’s/St Thomas’ hospital researchers, alongside health data science company ZOE. The software allows users to log their own Covid-19 symptoms. This helps track how the virus is spreading in the UK, and warns users of potential hotspots nearby. Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiology professor at King’s, told the Guardian: “We are asking about non-classical
symptoms as well, because many people are reporting non-persistent cough, or feeling unwell or a strange feeling of a lack of taste, or chest tightness that aren’t in the classical list but if we see it across the country in clusters we know they are probably real.”
both universities, has had success in this venue of Covid-19 related research. King’s has also offered the use of their workshops to manufacture components for design.
According to Spector, the project was put together in five days. There is currently no NHS equivalent to the app, making it the leading software of its kind for Covid-19 research in the UK. The data it collects can now be viewed as a heatmap, showing users whether cases are prevalent in their area.
While the production of OxVent ventilators was stopped in late April as a result of lessened clinical need, the ventilator design will be easy to replicate should a rapid response become necessary. The team “remains committed to this vision and is re- KCL x NHS Research newing options to make it available in other countries A multi-disciplinary research where needs are still pressing”. team led by KCL Professor Michael Malin received Taste and Smell a £1m grant from The Huo Family Foundation to asA research team at KCL ana- sist its continued research lysing COVID-19 symptoms into Covid-19. This team’s collected from the above- central goals are to “rapidly mentioned app has made translate scientific breakimportant preliminary find- throughs to the frontlines ings. At the time of writing, of Covid-19 healthcare and their test group consists of infection control”, and to An OxVent prototype over 400,000 people. Accord- “enable the development of ventilator ing to their research, 59% more accurate diagnostics, of those who tested positive ensure information on im-
Ventilator Prototypes Engineers, surgeons, and anaesthetists from KCL and Oxford (OxVent) are collaborating on new ventilator prototypes for use in hospitals. Their emphasis is on types which can be created in small- or medium-sized workshops and universities. The team, led by multiple professors and doctors from
An OxVent prototype ventilator
for Covid-19 also reported a loss of smell and taste. The WHO does not currently list these symptoms as related to the virus. Despite this, the researchers have indicated that a correlation is possible. Spector said in a statement that “when combined with other symptoms, people with loss of smell and taste appear to be 3 times more likely to have contracted Covid-19 according to our data, and should therefore self-isolate for seven days to reduce the spread of the disease.”
mune response can be used to guide public health policy, and enable the creation of antibody-based therapies.” The team was also responsible for setting up the June Almeida lab for Covid-19 diagnostics, named after the virologist who discovered the first Coronavirus in 1964. It has also been dedicated to providing scalable antibody tests to increase logged data on the virus.
November 2020 Comment Editors Asher Gibson Marino Unger-Verna
C ov id - 1 9 : A C o m p re hen s i v e Te s t
The Comment Team S a m u e l Pe n n i f o l d Po d c a st E dit o r
Podcast editor Samuel Pennif- pubs have remained open to punt- the brakes after a surge in infections. R oar old on the varied responses to Cov- ers, and gyms are open as well. This id-19 employed by different nations, comes as Sweden sits 5th globally in and what we can learn from them. terms of deaths per million as of July 1. has it saved their economy? It’s Covid-19 is a common burden, and But early to tell, though economists many countries large and small have too not feeling optimistic. Whilst failed in their response and recovery ef- are GDP has shrunk comparaforts. Others have achieved effective re- Swedish little compared to other nations sponses - some countries have managed tively Europe, Sweden is in the unto persevere and almost thrive. Taiwan within fortunate position of relying on exand New Zealand are two such examples. ports to these countries. To many, it that Sweden has only delayed Taiwan’s experience with Covid has seems been different to that of most other the inevitable, at a horribly high cost. countries. As of July 1, Taiwan had just New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda 447 confirmed cases and 7 deaths - one Arden has set her self apart from other of the lowest totals globally. That impres- world leaders with her calm and orsive feat becomes even more impressive ganised handling of the Coronavirus. when considering Taiwan’s proxim- She put New Zealand into a strict lockity to China and that Taiwan does not down as soon as the first few cases arbenefit from WHO support, meetings, rived on their shores. “We only have or any official communications due 102 cases,” Ardern said in a nationally to the stranglehold China has on the televised announcement. “But so did WHO and the UN not recognising Tai- Italy once.” Her lockdown has worked, wan as an independent nation. Taiwan with New Zealand recording only 22 has produced such large success off the deaths - 22 too many, of course, but a back of its ingenuity, relying on big data success of epic projections compared to control and monitor lockdown ef- to Sweden, and even more so the US forts, meet demands for key resources, and the UK. New Zealand is now startand track potential infections. This has ing to see the shoots of society sprout tied in with the use of AI to track social once again, albeit gingerly. Rugby media activity and people’s locations, fans can now watch their favourite and represents a trade-off with civil teams again in full stadiums, withliberties - but would you not sacrifice out social distancing. New Zealand’s some level of your privacy to save lives? way of life is returning, thanks to the Taiwan has achieved its success all whilst strong leadership of its Prime Minister. looking in from the outside of the glob- It is, of course, unfair to compare counal community; truly one of the most tries such as the US and UK with smallimpressive stories of Covid-19 success. er ones such as New Zealand. But the countries’ responses can at best What is the opposite of this? Well, former be characterised as stupid and reckless. Sweden. A story of arrogance, and one of fading hope. Sweden is one of few If leadership reflects character, then the countries that has chosen to stick with US response can be easily explained. It the “herd immunity” approach, despite is a nation with one of the most complimounting pressure within the country cated democracies in the world. With and internationally to do otherwise. many powers held at a state level and Some commentators have criticised even more at that of mayors and sherthe arrogance with which Sweden has iffs, lockdown was implemented haphandled itself, relying on the sense of hazardly across states and even more its population to follow recommen- haphazardly removed later. States such dations rather than laws in regard to as Texas and California, two of the largsocial distancing. Sweden has taken est states in the electoral college, raced some positive steps, such as closing to reopen beaches, bars, and restauuniversities, but primary and second- rants; they are now having to slam on ary students have stayed in school,
Gu e s t C ont r ibute r
contributor Alli McKelvey contract cancellation for those who have G uest on how the Covid-19 pandemic moved out of university accommoda-
has exacerbated the existing issues tion. Unfortunately, this does not help of social inequality and class dispar- the many students who will still be paying rent for private accommodation, deity in the UK.
Asher Gibson Comment Editor
California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered restrictions on indoor restaurants, bars, and the like for most of the state of California on July 30, coming on the heels of record numbers of new infections and deaths. This is a trend that sadly has plagued most of America, and one that seems to be further damaging its internal standing and reputation under Trump’s presidency. The EU block, including the UK, has kept travel restrictions on those from the US in place.
Marino Unger-Verna Comment Editor
Some have commented in the past that America’s most dangerous export is its democracy. This time, though, America has fallen foul of itself with one of the highest death tolls in the world.
Danielle Jones Staff Writer
People in glass houses though should not throw stones. In the UK, we are living in a glass mansion, facing our own issues with a devolved system of government and reckless mistakes from leadership. After an initial approach of herd immunity, similar to that of Sweden, Boris Johnson quickly made a Uturn, as he has become so accustomed to, and took the country into lockdown. With measures applied randomly and reactively, and with the typical ghoulishness of the British press, the government found itself lurching from crisis to crisis in an attempt to gain control. As case and death numbers gradually start to fall, restrictions are being tentatively eased across the UK, with the promise of resumption if necessary, as we have seen in Leicester. The initial floundering of the government has left the UK with the scars of over 43,000 dead, giving us one of the highest deaths per million worldwide. In the months and years to come, much will be made in comparing how different nations have responded to Covid-19, and people in power must and will be made accountable - if not by the requirements of democracy, then as a result of the moral stain of each life lost. We will recover; but in how much time, no one knows.
C ov id an d C la s s - S o c i al I ne q ual it y in a Crisis A l l i Mc Ke l v e y
is instead a result of BAME communities being forced to cope with substandard housing and cramped conditions. At least 28 London bus drivers have died from coronavirus in recent weeks, most of whom were BAME. This is a shameful failure to protect those we rely on the most to help us get around this city.
spite not even being in the city, losing For many students, the coronavirus cri- hundreds of pounds a month. Calls for This crisis has highlighted the reliance sis is merely the cherry atop the cake of the government to announce plans for working-class students have upon unia long year of suffering at King’s. Exams rent suspension have fallen on deaf ears. versity resources, in particular libraries and access to materials. Such students are stressful enough without the threat of a pandemic looming over us. However, As most working-class students live, on are forced to desperately attempt to comcoronavirus is continuing to have a dis- average, in smaller houses, often with plete assignments at home, often having proportionate effect upon working-class larger families, this may mean that they to make do with inferior technology than are forced to share a room with siblings, better-off coursemates. students. with limited or even non-existent quiet arWith term cut short and exams moving eas in which to study or sit online exams. Money worries have increased. Many workingclass students were employed in precarious partonline, the majority of students have returned home. Away from the distractions Many working-class students also stem from mi- time jobs; jobs which now no longer exist or neof London life and being isolated inside nority backgrounds. The government has been cessitate students risk their lives to become a “key the house, boredom is setting in for many. struggling to rationalise why BAME (Black, worker,” often on minimum wage. Many who Far from the worst fate a student could Asian, and Minority Ethnic) communities have have gone home have returned to households suffer, boredom is a privilege working- been disproportionally hit by coronavirus, with where the budget is already stretched, especially the death rate for black people four times as high in single-parent households such as mine. This class students are not allowed. as that of the white population. I would suggest is before we consider any caring responsibilities that such students may have. For many parents, KCL has introduced measures for early that this has nothing to do with genetics, but their children returning from university for an
Alli McKelvey Staff Writer Anoushay Okhai Staff Writer
Haleema Ayyub Staff Writer Hanna Pham Staff Writer Izzy MacKellar Staff Writer Laura Maxwell Staff Writer Manon Powrie Staff Writer Maria Malik Staff Writer Rory Orwell Staff Writer Radha Raheja Staff Writer Sayali Marathe Staff Writer
indefinite amount of time whilst not contributing to the household budget will be disastrous. It feels callous to describe my fellow workingclass students as simply another mouth to feed for our families, but in reality, this is often what we are. Personally, I decided to stay in my hall for the duration of the exam period. This was partly for selfish reasons; I knew that I’d be able to focus better and have a better chance of doing well in a university environment. But I also did so because I was concerned whether my mother would be able to provide for me, as she has not been able to work during the pandemic. Now, given Boris Johnson’s confusing announcement on Sunday night, my mother - a cleaner - is being encouraged to go back to work. This is despite her having no access to PPE. The government is asking her to risk her health to clean for middle-class professionals, who are still allowed to work from the safety of their homes. Clearly, the government doesn’t value the lives of all its citizens equally. Coronavirus is a class issue. The virus is affecting everyone, but working-class students who will be disadvantaged the most. Even if the university cannot do anything to mitigate this, a bit of understanding would go a long way.
C r ad le t o G r av e : T he N H S D e s e r v e s O u r Su p p o r t D a n i e l l e Jo n e s Staf f Wr ite r
R oar on
writer Danielle Jones the current government’s lack of support for the NHS, and why more needs to be done to protect the institution. Recently the National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its 72nd anniversary. For 72 years the NHS has cared for everyone who needed to use its services “from cradle to grave”, with no charge for most of its services – no matter the financial situation of the individual. Very few would dispute that the NHS has fulfilled its original purpose of increasing equality in healthcare by ensuring money is not a barrier to treat- after all of your needs? Safe staffing ment. But while the NHS has cared prevents medication errors, ensurfor us, who has cared for the NHS? ing that vulnerable patients - such as those with dementia - are properly Wards up and down the country are supervised, and prevents healthcare operating with unsafe levels of staff- workers from becoming burnt out. ing. The Royal College of Nursing is calling for government accountability While the practice was suspended to ensure every shift has a safe ratio for several weeks during the height of staff to patients. In England, there of the Covid crisis, most NHS workis no law regulating staffing levels in ers are charged to park at the hospihealthcare, and in Northern Ireland tals they work at. This poses a unique members of the RCN Union have problem for many, particularly as been undertaking industrial action many NHS staff members work unto ask for improvements in num- sociable hours and public transport bers. Safe staffing saves lives – would is severely lacking in many parts of you rather be treated by a nurse who the United Kingdom. As Alex Flynn, has 8 patients to look after; who has Chief of Staff of the British Media number of admissions and dis- cal Association, tweeted, “from clap charges and all the paperwork that for carers to clamps for carers, the comes with them, and has just dealt government needs to think again.” with a traumatic patient - or a nurse with 4 patients, who is supported by A friend recently opened up on Twita team and can dedicate time to look ter to explain why she no longer
works bank shifts at her local Trust. The student nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous, works as a Healthcare Assistant to help pay bills while she works to attain her Nursing degree. She explained that it costs more than one hour’s pay to park at her local trust, meaning that if she works an 8-hour shift, she walks home with less than 7 hours’ wages. She would rather travel a little further to work for another trust where she is allowed to park for free during unsociable hours, including night shifts and weekends when bank staff are primarily needed. With the NHS brought to its knees by a severe lack of staffing, I feel that we need to do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for staff to works the shifts they want to.
niversary, it was announced that Covid-19 tests would be treated as a “benefit in kind”, meaning that key workers - including NHS staff who undergo compulsory testing in many Trusts to combat asymptomatic spread - would see an increase in the tax deductions from their paycheques. After receiving an avalanche of complaints, the government decided to do a U-turn overnight and remove the “benefits in kind” status for Coronavirus testing. This begs the question: who thought it was a good idea in the first place? The representatives we elected genuinely thought it would be a great idea to clap for 9 weeks to celebrate the hard workers who keep the NHS alive, before taking away even more of the meagre wages they bring home. It drove home only one message for me: we cannot take the pressure off Members of Parliament for a second, or they will destroy the last shreds of goodwill those working for the NHS have left.
As a student nurse myself, I would much rather have safe staffing levels, adequate pay for the physically and mentally gruelling work we do, and enough beds that patients do not have to wait and deteriorate before being treated, than have politicians clapping outside Downing Street as some form of twisted PR. Before the NHS’s 73rd anniversary, please make real commitments to supporting everyone who crosses the doors of a hosJust two days after many of our poli- pital, a GP surgery, a maternity ward, ticians stood on their streets and or who is brought to A&E in an amclapped to celebrate the NHS’s an- bulance - from cradle to grave.
T he KC L S U Mu s t D o Mo re S a m u e l Pe n n i f o l d Po d c a s t E dit o r
writer Samuel Pennifold on R oar the KCLSU and how he believes
it could lead the charge for positive change in the King’s student body. The King’s College Student Union must do more to support debate on campus. Debate is the starting point for all truly effective change. Now more than ever, that change is forcing itself into the light, and we must answer the call. King’s does offer a range of societies, from political groups, religious societies, or enclaves of various countries. But in belonging to such societies, people can become defined by one group and exist within an echo chamber - their ideas, thoughts, and opinions constantly being reflected back at them. Debate allows people to understand each other better; to hear new ideas, thoughts, and opinions. It challenges your arguments and assumptions. When you are confident enough to debate your ideas with your peers, then you know that idea can effect change.
naming buildings or removing statues with links to slavery, there exist valid arguments that can challenge your thinking. I personally have had my ideas challenged, and feel I have learnt from it. But before now I had not thought of this issue - within my own echo chamber, the debate had not come up. This is why student union needs to support student debate: so issues such as the renaming of Guy’s Campus can be brought to light before a crisis does that for us. The privilege of democracy is the ability to disagree with one another, and on King’s campuses, we are letting this privilege slip by. I believe the student union should host regular student debates to discuss issues of race, gender, equality, and more.
Healthy debate is key to understanding and moving forward to effectively challenge any issue, especially those concerning race. With better understating, issues can be addressed and dealt with before the worst occurrences have to bring them into focus. The Student Union An unfortunate truth of the Black sharp Lives Matter movement is that a should do more to support this. while after it has flared up, it seems Such action is even mandated by the to fade out of the news, and in turn KCLSU’s constitution. The SU must the wider public conscience. There provide “social, cultural, sporting and are those such as Colin Kaepernick recreational activities and forums for who carry on the torch and burden discussions and debate for the perof advocacy no matter what, but most sonal development of its Students”. seem only to act in reactive measures. Take for example the new petition to Debate amongst young people is part change the name of Guy’s Campus. of the answer to creating a more free On either side of the debate of re-
world. Small changes such as organising debate are in no way a silver bullet to solve systemic issues - but as a generation, we will have the chance to enact the kind of truly large-scale change that is needed in the world. That starts with debate and should start now on campus. To make the kind of true change we seek, we must first acknowledge our differences in feelings, opinions, and ideas. application form. Those differences can be our greatest strength in effecting positive change. The panel, I propose, should amongst its many duties have the ability to This is not to say the KCLSU is fail- publicly release reports on the steps ing in its duty. The SU is a brilliant being taken and discussed to achieve representation of people from dif- equality, so we as a student body ferent races and genders. The state- can play a further role in the proment they released in support of the cess. Accountability and debate BLM movement was powerful and create a kind of dynamic equilibstrong, and the schemes they outline rium, so we can constantly strive within it seem to be more than token for better and challenge ourselves. gestures. Such actions are important and not to be underestimated, but Together with a wider-reaching Acwe as a student body must always countability Panel and greater stustrive for more. We must strive to end dent debate on campus, the KCL stu“discrimination, resist against struc- dent body can become a beacon of tural oppression, and build a more change - a cycle of reaction to oppreshumane and habitable world”, as the sion, racism, and inequality can end. KCLSU calls for. Debate is the first We can be on the front foot and face of many steps to allow us to work issues, because no lives matter unout together how we can do that. til black lives matter. And trans lives matter. And gay lives matter. And the If change takes time to grow and de- life or lives of any discriminated perbate is what feeds that growth, then son or group matters. accountability is the root. This is why I also call for an expansion of the Accountability Panel to include more members, up from 7, and with more regular meetings than the minimum of 3 a year as described on the panel’s
War St u d ie s ’ “ G en de r We e k ” i s Par t o f t he Pro b lem Anoushay Okhai S t a f f Wr i t e r
writer Anoushay Okhai on War StudR oar ies’ “gender week”, and why it is an in-
adequate solution to the lacking role of gender in the department’s modules. The KCL War Studies department has long striven to provide equal opportunities in a sector rife with sexism and female underrepresentation. One solution of theirs is “gender week”, a week set aside in compulsory first-year modules to specifically introduce women’s place in war and security. Though it gives a much-needed platform to gender discourse in warfare, the way in which gender week is handled ultimately risks being counterproductive. The limitation of a single week, the restriction of the subject, and the treatment of gender as an isolated issue tokenises and trivialises the topic, ultimately jeopardising security studies as a whole. First-year War Studies gives a broad overview of the discipline’s fundamental topics. Compulsory modules such as Causes of War, Experience of War, and Contemporary Security Issues (shared with International Relations) span topics such as historical warfare, modern security threats, and the impacts of conflict on those engaged. Gender, somehow, is treated as a separate issue from all of these themes. Women’s experiences and involvement in combat and policy are restricted entirely to the allotted week. Despite valuable gendered elements to themes like insurgency or various historical conflict narratives, there is minimal intersection. With only one week devoted to the subject, the content covered in each module is limited. Causes of War, for instance, largely focusses on sexual violence and gender theory. Though both are important subjects, there are several issues with making these topics the basis of this part of the curriculum. Sexual violence, for instance, is a triggering and therefore inaccessible topic for many more people than one would perhaps expect. Additionally, it contributes to the constant portrayal of women as submissive. The majority of the discourse portrays women as victims of war.
added, “Focussing on ‘victimhood’ for discussion ment continues to be part of the problem. It has implies that that’s the only role for women in war.” an opportunity to promote more widespread recognition of women’s issues; their contributions to This could have serious consequences for security war and policy-making, and how those function in as a whole. Contemporary Security Issues also fo- prominent security threats. Instead, the subject is cusses largely on sexual violence, but also on wom- treated as a politically correct requirement, thereen’s roles within ISIS. It is only upon independent by diminishing its value. So how could it be better? further research that one learns women were tasked with rebuilding the caliphate in 2017 and are large- There’s the alternative of making gender week ly responsible for recruitment. The policies crafted more wide-ranging. Last year’s required articles paid no attention to this vital information; result- for Causes were focussed entirely on renowned antly, 550 women slipped through proactive strate- sexist Van Creveld’s piece on how women fighting gies and joined ISIS in January 2015. The problem creates the illusion of feminism; around half of the with teaching students to only associate gender lecture spoke about gender roles. War Studies is a in conflict with female victims is that, in future, fascinating course; if it were less theory-heavy, and they likely won’t formulate adequate strategies. focussed less on academics who don’t value women, this would be far more interesting and useful. War Studies and Philosophy student Sam Light is one of many who thinks gender week wouldn’t ex- The best option, though, would be to do away with ist unless it were mandated. He added that it al- gender week altogether. Instead, it should be inways felt like the week the GTAs were least enthu- tegrated across the course and allowed to overlap siastic about, regardless of their gender. Our GTA with broader sub-themes. If gender and its assoin particular was notably disdainful; she found the ciated concepts were interweaved throughout the heavy focus on theory incredibly difficult to teach, course, it would be seen as legitimate and compreand we found it nearly impossible to analyse pro- hensive teaching rather than isolated specialisaductively. This difficulty spans multiple modules; tion. Students and staff would be able to go beyond Chloe Temple, studying War Studies and History, surface-level, monolithic studies, and be encourrelayed how her lecturer told personal stories of her aged to incorporate gendered thinking throughout time in the army rather than anything functionally security studies as a whole. Women are people, not academic. These are not isolated incidents; when requirements; it is not acceptable to treat them as much of the literature is dated analyses on the ex- such. istence of sexism, it is difficult to impart anything new. All of this amplifies the inaccessibility of gender week; despite being keenly interested in gendered representation, it hindered Chloe and many others from being able to engage in that week. Gender week does not take women’s issues seriously enough - its subject matter is seen solely as a diversity requirement instead of a legitimate, impactful topic. Fascinating and important gendered war and security topics exist, but they are currently uncovered by independent researchers. Women are overwhelmingly the ones who choose to do so; men, however, hardly ever take an independent interest. Sam Light suspects that “‘male’ is seen as the default identity, so any deviation is labelled as a sign of difference”. This makes sense: when the only compulsory gender education is a week of studying women as “others”, it’s a logical conclusion for men to reach.
This perpetuates the misogyny that gender week aims to fight — future members of a male-dominated sector will enter into an education that exacerbates the view of women as a dependent monolith. As War Studies student Alicia Jenkins In viewing women as a token subject, the depart-
A c t i v i s m T h ro ug h Ic e C re am Ha n n a P h a m Staf f Wr ite r
writer R oar ice cream
Hanna Pham on Ben & Jerry’s ment to Black Lives Matter and “the urgent need to and the authenticity of politi- take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy.” cal activism in businesses and corporations. Firstly, Ben & Jerry’s called upon President Trump Amidst an extremely divisive political climate, to no longer use Twitter to fan the flames of white it is seemingly impossible for individuals to supremacy and called upon Congress to pass H.R. not have an opinion on the current state of the 40, creating a commission to analyze the effects of world and this logic applies to businesses as well. slavery and how they could be remedied. They also called for the authorization of legislation to promote As consumers, it is important for us to err on the police accountability and combat racial violence side of caution as big-name brands take a stance and for the recommitment of more energy to the against systemic racism or the coronavirus pan- Civil Rights division in the Department of Justice. demic without addressing their internal issues regarding these matters. However, the promi- However, they go beyond just broad statements— nence of unexpected businesses authentically their political beliefs present themselves through raising awareness of social issues, specifically ice their products. As an ice cream brand, they have cream brands, in our daily lives is hard to ignore. a unique means by which they make their products reflect their political beliefs. To celebrate Ben & Jerry’s, arguably the best ice cream you can the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold marbuy in a supermarket, has a long history of speak- riage equality, “I Dough, I Dough” was released. ing out in solidarity with LGBT equality, climate change, democracy, and most recently the Black “The Flavor Empower Mint” was released on the anLives Matter movement. While many brands post- niversary of the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education ed a black screen and a corresponding hashtag in ruling that ended segregation in schools, and part solidarity with the movement, Ben & Jerry’s voiced of its sales were redirected to the North Carolina their support four years ago when many companies NAACP. The flavour, Love Is, released on Valentine’s found it too polarizing an issue to speak on publicly. Day in 2019, had part of its profits go to the charity Refugee Action, because “Ben & Jerry’s is about sharIn light of George Floyd’s death, they posted an ing love”. On top of that, Ben and Jerry themselves essay on their website reaffirming their commit- were arrested in 2016 while protesting in Washington D.C. In essence, it seems like every aspect of
Ben & Jerry’s is a reflection of their political beliefs. In today’s political climate, 70% of consumers want to know how brands handle social and economic issues — Ben & Jerry’s is a prime example of a company long associated with having a politically conscious core. That being said, even with the overt progressiveness of Ben & Jerry’s they have caught criticism from Palestinian rights groups regarding business practices in the contested area of the West Bank. According to the United Nation Human Rights Office Ben & Jerry’s, alongside 112 other companies, have profited from allowing their ice cream to be sold by the Israeli supermarket, Shufersal, that “profit from settlement activity in the West Bank.” While it is encouraging to see consumers care more about the ethical practices of corporations, it remains unclear to what extent businesses, in general, commodify social issues for their profits, versus having an authentic progressive stance. As previously mentioned, the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement has sparked companies to post on social media in solidarity, but not to address how systemic racism feeds into their own companies specifically. Looking to the future, will corporations strive to genuinely support social issues as demanded by consumers? Or will they pander to whatever issues are topical in the news to drive up profits?
C harle s A mo s an d t he KC L C A : A Ret ro s p e c t i v e Samuel Light Ne w s E ditor
Editor Sam Light looks N ews back and reflects on the controversial election of Charles Amos as KCLCA president and his subsequent removal from office.
Amos was removed as president of the KCLCA over a month ago and has since been replaced by Anastasiia Katona. However, despite only having been president for a matter of weeks he has left a stain on conservative politics at this university. A petition is still live which calls for the entire society to be de-ratified.
It was hard to tell whether the attention surrounding Charles Amos was ever about politics, or whether it was all about the man himself. While funny, a man who holds evepossible “controversial” opinion At first glance, Amos was diffi- ry lingering the right of the political cult to take seriously. Emerging up centre is ato man to be careful of. In my into frame to speak sternly over eyes, this applies regardless of where what sounded like the Pirates of the you stand politically. Charles Amos Caribbean soundtrack, his cam- has “hot-takes” on everything from paign video never really existed feminism through to taxation and the as anything other than a meme. Coronavirus. The article written in opto a smoking ban introduced The last decade of politics has become position over a decade is, in my view, a increasingly dominated by spectacle prime exampleprior of his ability to resurand personality, which leaves policy rect long-dormant topics political and serious debate as an afterthought. debate in order to garnerofattention. The saga of this year’s KCL Conservative Association elections brought this Following the Twitter storm which type of politics to King’s. After some surrounded his election, Amos’ stateinternal turmoil and a large amount ment seemed to welcome the drama of outside pressure, the KCLCA which followed him. The ridicule dipassed a vote of no-confidence against rected at Amos and the Association Amos; a move which almost certainly he now represented was just “water served the best interests of the soci- off a duck’s back”. The impeached ety and, I think, preserved the wider president seemed content that his health of student politics at King’s. campaign video had over 100,000 Facebook views. Even when what
No T i me f o r A p at h y Maria Malik St af f Wr it e r
the wake of George Floyd’s murder, I nRoar writer Maria Malik argues that the
they are considered too “political” or “controversial”, shorthand for being “bad for time for apathy and inaction in the face their image” as they are expected to not of racially-motivated violence is long past. rock the boat and uphold the status quo. narrative has begun to change. I have The unlawful and incredibly tragic murder The seen far fewer Martin Luther King quotes of George Floyd, a victim of police brutality, posted the Internet, usually used by has provoked outrage from many as frus- people around to justify inaction and disempower trations at the forces of racism reach fever- protesters. not pretend, as these peopitch, with protests and riots taking place ple would Let’s have us believe, that if we adboth in the United States and internationally. hered to acts of non-violence like MLK the of oppression that are in motion These riots and protests show the extent systems eventually take mercy and dismantle to which people are frustrated by the re- would themselves. After all, MLK was still assascent events of Floyd’s murder and the sinated despite being a peaceful activist and systemic racism that has made people was hated by those who opposed his mislike him its victims. Protestors are will- sion. Encouraging people to be non-violent ing to risk their lives, potentially con- is to an extent encouraging apathy so that tracting an illness to stand up against a oppressors don’t feel threatened by the redisease that is a far more sinister dan- sistance they face for their actions. ger to society than COVID-19 – racism. ensures the future of these systems, Apathy diminishing any backlash against their existence. This is a time to stand up and be counted, not to be discouraged from action by It is our responsibility to keep the flames quotes of nonviolence and undermined of the fire lit by Floyd’s death raging in by people that say riots and activism our activism. Take action. Read, research, don’t work; who would rather you turn write, lobby, protest, donate, post, argue, a blind eye to the situation as they do. and make sure your voice is heard. In recent years, it has felt like people were almost desensitised to stories of raciallyaggravated violence, as they had become commonplace. Annoyingly, however, what sympathy did exist rarely translated into action. There would often be ripples of scattered social media posts, and then everything would go back to normal till the next tragedy. This time felt different. There was still social media coverage, but it wasn’t just from a handful of friends. It came from an overwhelmingly diverse number of people, ranging from religious and community leaders to musicians and Hollywood actors. The latter of these particularly surprised me. as celebrities - and specifically white celebrities - usually stray from issues related to race as
followed were accusations of racism and misogyny that tarnished his party’s reputation, all that mattered was keeping people talking. It is easy to get the impression that Amos has less allegiance to the principles of “liberty” or “conservativism” than he does to the statement “all press is good press”. The young Tory counsellor received a lot of backlash from the Association he was elected to represent for saying “I’m not passionate about the Conservative Party, I simply see it as the most effective vehicle to realise the ends of liberty.” I
question this sentiment. Does Amos see the Conservative Party as a vehicle to the ends of liberty, or as a vehicle to further his political career? We should guard against careerism and those who drum up political controversy for their own advantage. For me, this applies regardless of whether you vote Labour or Conservative. The KCLCA did the right thing by removing Amos from the presidency. They should be careful not to be sucked in by the attention which comes with drama and press coverage the next time around.
T he Pan dem ic o f Hat re d an d Rac i s m Ha l e e m a Ay y u b St af f Wr it e r
writer Haleema Ayyub on the reR oar cent death of George Floyd and the
systemic issue of racism in America. At the moment, we may be suffering from COVID-19 as a society; but the pandemic of racism and hatred towards black communities is not new or foreign. This hateful attitude towards black communities as they are victimised, oppressed, and scapegoated has been alive for centuries. The fight led by black people to gain equality in a society that has operated on white supremacy since its formation has been ongoing for many years. In our day and age, this antipathy towards the black community largely comes in the form of police brutality, for no other reason than the colour of one’s skin being synonymous in the police’s eyes, as threatening. I am writing this in the wake of George Floyd’s death. A police officer had his knee on the man’s neck as he cried, “I can’t breathe.” The parallels of his death to that of Eric Garner in 2014, who also said these words as he was held in a chokehold by a police officer, are both chilling and heartbreaking. While we see social media outrage and protests as these repeated incidences occur, the consequences for police officers or white perpetrators are never as severe as they should be. As reported in a BBC article from 2019, the NY officer involved in Eric Garner’s murder was only fired, not imprisoned. To some extent, officers are protected from being imprisoned in such cases, as they use the excuse that they “were defending themselves” before a “threat” had fully manifested. This comes down to how police officers are trained to act - the toxic thought that a black man is “guilty until proven innocent”.
And it is these racist thoughts that result in black men being killed. If any of these deaths were isolated incidences, it would be a different story. However, with the number of times incidences such as these are repeated, it is clear that some officers do not act responsibly with the privileges they are endowed. The upward trajectory of these acts of police brutality and white people acting as ‘vigilantes’ is not random. It comes down to the workings of a society that has racism and colonialism engrained, manifesting in the inhumane treatment of communities of colour. While there is an issue in the American criminal justice system and how laws and police unions protect police, we cannot ignore the blatant racism and operation of white privilege that has become so embedded in society. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery featured ordinary white men who saw themselves as “vigilantes”, higher than the law. Similarly, there was the more recent incident involving Amy Cooper, who knew exactly what she was doing when she called the police saying, “an AfricanAmerican man is threatening my life”. This incident highlights how white privilege can operate to one’s advantage in a corrupt way. Therefore, there needs to be accountability in every community - the question, “how are we perpetuating this system of white supremacy and anti-blackness?” needs to be asked. Education and discussion about issues is vital. Furthermore, I acknowledge that one can feel powerless in the face of injustice and that posting about it can feel insignificant; But the communication and amplification of people’s voices have never been more important - that is how we can topple systems of oppression and prejudice, and enable people to act.
Hai r D i s c r i m i nat io n i s Ro o t e d i n Rac i s m - We Mu s t A c k nowle d g e I t He l e n Ku r s t e n - Ho l m e s Staf f Wr ite r
writer R oar Holmes on
Helen Kurstenthe history of Black hair discrimination, and what must be done to dismantle it in both the US and the UK. It cannot be ignored that Black hair is fundamentally intertwined with racial identity. Black people are regularly discriminated against in schools and workplaces for the natural and protective hairstyles they wear. This has far-reaching consequences for Black people who have been repeatedly targeted and discriminated against because of their hair texture, and this form of injustice is found worldwide. Harmful and offensive racial stereotypes have been associated with Black hair since time immemorial. For instance, afro hair is deemed “unprofessional” or “distracting” and is generally perceived as less desirable when contrasted with Eurocentric hair and beauty standards. More must be done to eradicate these deeply ingrained biases.
I am a Black woman who has predominately worn braids and similar protective hairstyles for most of my life. I prefer braids as opposed to weaves not only because I like the way they look, but also because they are easier to maintain and last longer. I could list all of the uniquely Black experiences in my lifetime related to my hair, such as spending most of my day in the hair salon edging away from the PowerPik hairdryer tugging at my afro, and the many, many hours spent getting my single plaits done and the headache that immediately followed. In my view, extensive knowledge of Black hair is nonexistent, despite its beauty and resilience. Ignorance surrounding this issue has often led to the egregious policing of afro-textured hair. In 2016, a 14-year-old student in Kent had to challenge her school to keep wearing box braids. In 201,7 a Black woman was refused a job at Harrods unless she straightened her hair. Recently, Ruby Williams won a legal
battle with her school in Hackney after she was repeatedly sent home for wearing her natural afro hair, as it was deemed to have violated uniform policy. DeAndre Arnold, a student in Texas, was suspended from school for wearing dreadlocks and banned from his graduation, while in June of this year, actress Gabrielle Union filed a complaint of employment discrimination against NBC and other production companies due to the alleged racism she experienced last year on the set of America’s Got Talent. Union was reportedly told that her hairstyles were “too wild” and needed to be “toned down,” the implication being that her hair was “too Black” for the talent show. Hair discrimination may sound trivial, but it is sadly a reality for many in the Black community. Hair discrimination should no longer be a commonplace practice in society, and in America, the CROWN Act has sought to put an end to this. Spearheaded by California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, the CROWN Act stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”. This legislation prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and protective hairstyles including “braids, locs, twists, and knots” in workplaces and schools. The Crown Coalition scored its first victory on July 3, 2019, when California became the first state to pass the CROWN Act, legally banning hair discrimination. This inspired similar measures in New York and Washington, and most recently Virginia became the first southern state to end this discriminatory practice. Dove’s 2019 CROWN research study
revealed the magnitude of discrimination experienced by women in the workplace based on their natural hairstyles. The findings showed that African-American women are 80% more likely to change their natural hair to meet social norms at work. A year has passed since the CROWN Act was first enacted, but there are still 43 states yet to pass the law. Astonishingly, there is no similar law in the UK that bans hair discrimination. Author Emma Dabiri is a key figure who has called for a law to also protect against hair discrimination, as she explains “afro hair technically falls under the definition of a protected characteristic, but without [it] being explicitly named, it is all too easily discriminated against”. Dabiri has started a petition which aims to amend the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that afrotextured hair is explicitly protected. Policies that ban Black hair in its natural state and protective hairstyles are essentially forcing Black people to assimilate into a Eurocentric beauty standard - and this may result in very damaging self-image issues stemming from hair discrimination. The struggle to have to justify something as intrinsic as one’s hair shouldn’t be a feature of everyday life; it is completely absurd. This is an opportunity for us all to be more culturally aware of microaggressions that are still rampant throughout society. It’s time to unpack and dismantle biases in the UK, and ending hair discrimination is a small but critical step towards eradicating racial injustice and inequality.
D e c o lo n i s e t he C u r r ic u lum , D e r ad ic al i s e t he S h i re s Asher Gibson C omm e nt E ditor
Editor Asher Gib- edly to give teachers room to “un- With the exception of London, I have Science and mathematics also have a C omment son reflects on efforts to de- derstand the needs of their pupils”. only ever lived here - a bubble of cul- role to play. It wasn’t until I was docolonise the UK school cur- This means that the content and quality riculum and how they might of PSHE curriculums differs radically deradicalise young rural Britons. across the country, with each focusing to a varying degree on the politics of From petitions urging that the “un- recognition: issues like race, sexuality, learning of racist behaviour should gender, and disability. This can make not be the work of POC alone; it some schools less efficient at preparshould begin in schools” to the ing young people to confront the comemergent IMPACT OF OMISSION plex philosophies, theories, and histosurvey that “…with sufficient evi- ries that are foundational to racism dence of shortcomings in the way and other forms of discrimination. this subject is taught” aims to “lobby for the change that is desperate- My old secondary school is one such ly needed”, people are calling for a institution, and an exemplar for the new, anti-racist school curriculum. dire consequences this can have. These calls are critical of existing “Not very diverse” was the underPSHE - personal, social, health, and stated description my ex-pastoral economic - education, which in its lead once gave of this school. It is current form “aims to develop skills based in Middleton Cheney, an isoand attributes … [in] health and lated village 3 miles from Banbury. wellbeing, relationships and living in the wider world.” The teaching According to the 2011 census - takof health and relationships content en the year before I enrolled at the is set to be made compulsory this school - 93.3% of the village populayear, a decision which sparked pro- tion at this time was born in England, tests against proposed LGBT content. 96.1% in the UK. 71% were Christian and only 0.4% knew a language However, PSHE continues to be other than English or BSL. Only a “non-statutory” subject with- 0.1% of residents cohabited with a out a standardised curriculum. The same-sex partner. Demographics DfE feels it “unnecessary to pro- have likely changed since but, from vide new standardised frameworks mere observation, not by much. or programmes of study,” suppos-
tural homogeny with an oddly longwinded name. It is also in this area where two people were arrested for their membership in the banned neoNazi terror group, National Action. Little was ever said at my school about the British Empire and the Windrush generation in History classes. It wasn’t until I came to London and covered the Black Cultural Archives’ legal workshops that I was implored to research what the Windrush scandal was and what its implications were for West-Indian Britons.
ing A-Level Psychology that I learned about scientific racism – how craniology and IQ tests contributed to an image of white ethnicity as biologically supreme, and how quantitative analysis shows this claim to be false.
Without consciously teaching young people why racism is not only morally abhorrent but factually false, many in areas like mine – where the need to teach oneself is impersonal and the will to capitalise on ignorance is prevalent – are particularly at risk, either of being swept up into racist extremism themselves or standing pasSimilarly, it wasn’t until this time that sive when it comes for their friends. I learned my prior teaching of war history had been completely white- To call for this, you can write to washed, ignoring the thousands your MPs. If you haven’t cancelled of African and West-Indian colo- your rent payments yet, write to nial subjects that fought for the Al- both the MPs of your home and unilied nations during the World Wars. versity address (Flo Eshalomi, MP for Vauxhall is particularly sympaI was never taught what implications thetic to the cause). You can sign this had to their claims to citizenship, petitions and donate to movements to whether British history should be like the Black Curriculum charity. allowed to claim these soldiers as “their own”. Learning of these events Meanwhile, as students, we are well- seeing “Britishness” in action - as placed to learn and to serve as teachan 11-year old could have been the ers for families, friends, colleagues, foundation for greatly enlightened students, and even our own lecturers. citizenship education for students We can take up at least some of the of any ethnic background. As it was, slack left by the state. these questions were never asked.
I am an A me r ic an . M a r i n o Un g e r- Ve r n a C omm e nt E ditor
Editor Marino UngerC omment Verna reflects on being a Ger-
man-American citizen in 2020.
I am an American. I hold an American passport. I vote in American elections. I lived in the U.S. for ten years, grew up there, made my first friends there. We are products of our experiences, and while I have grown much since my time there, I will forever in part be defined by those ten years, that culture, those values.
I have now lived in Europe for as long as I lived in America. 12 is a tricky age at which to uproot one’s life - old enough to remember the place you’re leaving, young enough to adapt to your new home quickly. And I adapted. I learned a new language, I made new friends, I familiarised myself with new cultures. All the while, I began to notice small things about my old home, things that bothered me in ways I couldn’t quite put into words. The way we had been made to say a pledge of allegiance to our country’s flag each morning - technically optional, but nothing a grade school child would ever think to question. The guns, sold in the same stores where families would buy groceries and kids would buy toys or video games. The new history I began to learn at school - not about American conflicts, American liberation and freedom, but about the rest of the world, the rest of its people.
It wasn’t until a few years after I left America, returning to the country of my birth with my parents, that I realised some things about the nation I had left behind. In Berlin, the people I would meet were of every ethnicity, every conceivable background. This never shocked me - I am lucky to have been raised in a household that accepted all people, no matter where they came from - but in hindsight, I am surprised that it didn’t. I am an American, and I was quick to become disillusioned. When DonWhen I think back to my time in ald Trump was elected president America, I do not remember many in 2016, I was shocked, but somenon-white faces. There were some how unsurprised. When he blamed exceptions to this, but they were ex- “many sides” for violence at Charceptions nonetheless. Not all towns lottesville a year later while a KKK are the same, and there may have leader pledged to “fulfil the prombeen more who I simply didn’t ises of Donald Trump,” I was horriknow; but I was a child, my social fied, but a part of me never expected circle extending only a little fur- him to do anything else. And then ther than my school. And almost came the death of George Floyd. all I can remember is white faces. Half an hour ago, I stood in my living I am American, and I am German. room and watched as our president Reaching maturity in Germany gave a speech in the Rose Garden of brought with it many new experienc- the White House. In a separate wines, and shaped me further. I learned dow, CNN showed a feed of the proabout the Third Reich, about Adolf tests occurring just meters away from Hitler and the crimes he had com- where Trump was standing, speaking mitted against countless innocent of his duty, the oath that he swore people. I, alongside everyone else when he assumed office. As he swore growing up in Germany, learned to deploy “thousands and thousands to remember our collective mis- of heavily armed soldiers, military takes, so as to never repeat them. personnel and law enforcement offic-
ers” across the country, I saw a flashbang grenade go off amidst a crowd of protesters, holding their hands up and chanting, “Don’t Shoot.” Our president gestured at the camera before him, and said: “America is founded on one rule of law”. As he uttered those words, a man in a red hoodie retreated from an advancing line of police officers in riot gear with a news crew. He was wearing a mask - whether to protect himself from COVID-19, tear gas, or identification, I do not know - looked into the camera, and spoke. He said, “Look at this, are you seeing this? We aren’t doing anything. We aren’t doing anything.” MAGA. Make America Great Again. Donald Trump’s chiefest of slogans. It’s on hats, on shirts, and it can be heard at each one of his rallies. The question, “When was America great?” is not a new one, but it is an intelligent one. The people who ask it are not arguing that the United States has never done anything right. They are not arguing that they hate their nation and everything it stands for. They are arguing against the idea, embedded in the minds of so many Americans, that our country is perfect, infallible, the “greatest nation on Earth.” America was built on the back of slave labour. Colonists drove American natives out of their homes again and again until they had to fight tooth and nail for survival. We have imprisoned Japanese-American citizens for no other reason than the colour of their skin. We have done the same to the young children of Mexican refugees, separating them from their parents to such an effective extent that some of them will never, ever be able to recover from the trauma. What is so great about that? Why is it so hard for us to look forward and change things?
Now more than ever, America does not need to return to its past, glorified through the foggy lens of time and self-aggrandisement. America needs to move forward - acknowledge its wrongs, and work to right them. I am American, and I am German. I know what it is to ignore my country’s mistakes, and I know what it is to address them. It is never easy to look at oneself in the mirror without blinking. It is never easy to acknowledge one’s privilege, the ease with which some thrive in a system deadly to others. It is never easy, but it is necessary. I hope that, if anything can come of what is happening now - all the pain that people are feeling, pain that unlike so, so many others I will never suffer from or truly be able to understand America will finally take a long, hard look into that mirror. I will still be an American when it does.
I n d i a Un r av e l l i n g : Pr i v i le g e an d C ov id - 1 9 Ta r a S a h g a l
E ditor in C hi e f
Tara Sahgal on the inequalE ditor-in-Chief ity between the upper and working class-
off privilege – is that of who was being protected. Of course, a lockdown was needed to prevent an of the crisis. But a full-fledged clampes and castes in India, and how it has been escalation down without any socio-economic protection or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. fallback for the dispossessed? Harder to argue for.
Let’s talk about the migrant workers first: India has approximately 120 million people migrating from rural areas to urban cities annually in order to escape poverty. Research shows that migration has become essential for people from regions where natural disasters are common or where population densities are relatively higher; yet it is the urban cities that have let these workers down, with gross inequalities in income and treatment slowly but surely stepping out of the shadows during the pandemic.
their homes, not only because of the lack of mobility but also because many families have had their sole breadwinners rendered jobless as a result of COVID-19. Then comes the problem of those who do not have homes. Of people living on the road or in shelters. Of people in prisons The lockdown has been nothing short of dysto- and detention centres. How are they expected to pian for these workers. It has left them not only protect themselves from the virus, or indeed from jobless – since their income is largely irregular and any infectious disease? Who will prioritise them? dependant on customer traffic – but also with no way of returning home. Consequently, they have Privilege can be a tricky thing to navigate. Most been forced to make their way by foot, travelling of us at King’s embody some form of it, be it rahundreds of kilometres without food or water cial, religious, gendered, sexual, socio-economand oftentimes with their children on their backs. ic or caste-based. Being able to write this artiSpecial trains were allowed to run for a brief pe- cle from the comfort of my home is a privilege. riod of time (until they were stopped at the behest of private builders), but even they charged ₹50 The purpose of this piece isn’t to induce guilt or more than the usual fare – a steep cost for those to claim that those who are privileged are free of struggling to feed themselves. For migrant la- problems: it is true that an individual’s mental bourers, the harsh reality is that there is as much health is incredibly weakened in situations like a threat of infection as there is of starvation. wars and pandemics, and that ‘home’ may not be a safe space for many. Suffering is complicated, and Meanwhile, as this humanitarian disaster unfolds everyone is going through it at some level. What’s and non-COVID related deaths puncture daily important, however, is to recognise just that: there headlines, influential individuals like Ivanka Trump are levels. Some of us are inherently, institutionally have begun weighing in on the issue. In classic “let’s better off than others. My intention isn’t to delegitglamorise poverty” fashion, she applauded a girl imise anyone’s problems, or even to evaluate their who cycled 1,200 kilometres with her wounded suffering, but just to bring to the table the fact that father (and by association, the entire Indian demo- there is often a difference in urgency and needs graphic fighting tooth and nail to get home), calling – which is something that must be recognised. their journey a “beautiful feat” – which it wasn’t. It isn’t a choice for anyone. While their endurance Talking about privilege is the first step towards can and should be acknowledged, their trauma is acknowledging it and using it to enact positive not something to celebrate. Migrant labourers in change through collective action. Many people India have been treated like dirt during the Coro- have been avoiding doing so, sweeping it under navirus crisis, to the point that many have vowed the rug as yet another thing that doesn’t really to never return to the cities; and this isn’t helped affect them. But in choosing to open the discusby the recent changes to labour laws in major In- sion, we open our minds to introspection and dian states, which effectively ensure that even post- understanding, which in turn enables us to move pandemic, the marginalised will be the ones who towards doing better – being better – for those suffer the most. Their pain cannot be glamorised. we have helped suppress, with or without intent.
When the global situation began to worsen in March, students from elite universities both within the country and abroad safely returned home on commercial and repatriation flights and trains. Migrant labourers, who work day-and-night out of necessity, hoped to do the same – but instead (and unsurprisingly), their demands went unheard for weeks. Public transport was swiftly shut down by the government, forming part of a nationwide lockdown in order to minimise the impact of the virus. But the important question to consider here – one which hopefully pulls the cover
In a similar vein, workers who are non-migrants from lower socio-economic backgrounds have been equally adversely affected by the lockdown. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to socially distance themselves from society. Because of the systemic economic and social constraints that they are subject to, the majority of India’s population live in cramped quarters where quarantine is unfeasible. Although the risk of infection is higher because of the population density in many of these areas – Dharavi in Mumbai is a prime example of this – it is difficult to expect people to remain in
India is unravelling and the cracks in society are starting to emerge, as the suffering of the marginalised becomes unavoidably visible. This is not a new occurrence – it just took a pandemic for people to realise it. In every country, the Coronavirus crisis has amplified the socio-political inequalities prevalent in society. In Western nations like the USA and the UK, this can best be seen in the disparity between the upper class and the rest of the country – with a particular emphasis on working-class citizens, refugees, the homeless and BAME individuals. In non-Western countries, like India, a similar bifurcation can be seen on the scales of class and caste. The New York Times recently published an article shedding light on the exacerbated impact COVID-19 has had on individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, citing research claiming that they were more likely to both catch the disease and die from it. This is not a far-fetched assertion in India, where migrant workers and the lower class have visibly borne the brunt of the pandemic.
T he I s s ue o f S e le c t i v e A c t i v i s m amo n g I n d i an s collapse of the Soviet Union. After the liberalisation of the Indian economy, the fetishisation and glorification of Western countries began, and Indians took to following Western culture without a second oar writer Sayali Marathe and Guest Con- thought – a consequence of Indian colonial history. tributor Rhea Kher on the selective activ- This led Indian celebrities and the general public ism of Indians, and why it must be addressed. to express their support for protests in America. Similar support was not offered for the protests The recent murder of George Floyd in the Unit- against the inherently discriminatory and xenoed States has started a global wave of social me- phobic Citizenship Amendment Act and National dia activism. It has sparked outrage, giving rise Register of Citizenship between December 2019 to posts against racism and people showing their and February 2020. The fear amongst the Indian absolute shock and horror at the systemic na- population of speaking out against political issues ture of police brutality. Indians around the world in India stems from potential legal repercussions. have made their opinions on the matter heard. If a person, be they a celebrity or activist, with unpopular or non-mainstream views speaks out However, others have been quick to point out the se- they are likely to be arrested under the sedition lective outrage voiced by certain communities that law - one of the remainders of British colonial rule. acknowledge police brutality in the United States but refused to do so in India, including celebrities The British Raj first introduced the law in 1870 in and the general public. Celebrities and influencers order to curb the “revolution and dissent against in India have the power to influence public opinion colonial rule”. Recently, India has used a variation in India. By choosing the route of selective and per- of the sedition law called the Unlawful Activities formative activism, Indians have chosen to ignore (Prevention) Act (UAPA) multiple times to curb cases of police brutality and discrimination against freedom of expression and dissent against the rulminorities in their own country. A similar case of ing party, the Bhartiya Janta Party, and its contropolice brutality occurred in the state of Rajasthan versial acts, such as the CAA and NRC. The UAPA a few days after the murder of George Floyd - yet gives the government unchecked power and allows this news of a police officer torturing a man, press- them to declare anyone a “terrorist” on unreasoning his leg against the man’s neck, was overlooked. able grounds or without proof. As a result of the UAPA and sedition law, activism is impossible. One incident could start a revolution in In- Stan Swamy, a priest, spoke out against the police dia, a country tens of thousands of miles from abuse faced by tribal people and was slapped with the epicentre of the situation; the other didn’t charges forcing him to cease his documentation. even make the front page, let alone a headline. The existence of the sedition law and UAPA have This difference in reactions is abhorrent. The glam- resulted in widespread ignorance of issues reourisation of American news is the result of Indians lated to casteism and colourism. The notions of having been under the influence of American cul- the latter have bled into the former in India, with many believing that people of a lower caste are ture for the past 29 years, especially following the Sayali Marathe St af f Wr it e r
Rhea Kher Gu e s t Wr ite r
I’ve seen a lot during this pandemic. I’ve seen the plight of migrant workers on the streets and the ignorance of too many of my peers; but I’ve also seen many people try to look beyond their privilege and make an active effort to help others, oftentimes by putting their own health at risk – and that gives me some hope. Hope that the fight against the system which gave us these unearned privileges – the fight for a more sustainable future – will continue to thrive in the post-Coronavirus era.
darker than those of an upper-caste. This modern interpretation of caste is also a remnant of colonial history which views upper-caste Hindus as pure and thus fairer-skinned, while those of a lower-caste are viewed as inferior, and thus darker-skinned. The caste system which used to be malleable and fluid in pre-colonial times is now a rigid social system that breeds discrimination. For many generations, Indians have grown up around influences that promote having fairer skin. Whether it be Bollywood songs with lines such as “White white face dekhe, dilwa beating fast” (My heart beats faster after seeing your white face) or passed-down home remedies for how to have fairer skin, the population has been conditioned to believe that having fairer skin is better. This narrative establishes the superiority of Brahmins over the lower-castes. Many black people have spoken out against the racism they have faced in India as residents and tourists. The celebrities speaking out against racism in the US have been marketing fairness creams in India for decades. In fact, India has one of the biggest fairness cream markets in the world. The existence of a fairness cream market normalises and justifies the discrimination and issues that plague lower-castes and makes them invisible in the mainstream. Indians need to break away from the ancient ideas which plague their society to this day and stand together against discrimination. Although India is such a large country, with over a billion diverse people, many of them are still marginalised on the basis of their sex, caste, creed, religion, and socioeconomic background. With so many denominations, the only people safe from discrimination are upper-caste Hindu men. The remainder will continue to be reduced to a number and ridiculed beyond measure unless we dismantle old structures that feed into a perpetual loop of discrimination.
S ho u l d KC L Rename G u y ’s C am p u s ? D a n i e l l e Jo n e s Staf f Wr ite r
R oar cent
writer Danielle Jones on the re- Guy’s Chapel and the hospital grounds to be repetition started by a KCL stu- moved; they also want the campus to be renamed. dent to rename Guy’s Campus in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. One KCL student, Ayesha Khan, started a petition to change the name of Guy’s Campus. The petition rapidly gained the support of students and LonKing’s College London has released a number of has citizens horrified at finding out Thomas Guy’s statements supporting the Black Lives Matter don Renaming the campus may be tricky, as it movement. On the surface, it appears that the uni- history. verges on the ground of Guy’s Hospital, named afversity is listening to black and brown voices; but ter Thomas Guy following his donation to start the expecting students to attend classes on a campus hospital’s construction. However, is it fair to expect named after Thomas Guy, a man who made his for- black and ethnic minority to attend classtune from the slave trade, feels like a slap in the face. es on a campus named afterstudents an individual involved the slave trade? Is it fair to expect patients to Thomas Guy is hailed as a philanthropist, hav- in medical care, to entrust their health to ing used his fortune to fund the building of Guy’s receive Hospital. However, Guy made his money by sell- NHS staff, in a hospital named after Thomas Guy? ing his shares in the South Sea Company, which Ayesha Khan told Roar that she started the petition was responsible for the transportation of roughly as “it didn’t sit right with me that so many friends 64,000 African slaves between 1715 and 1731. and professors of mine are of all different backyet the very site they studied at was named The KCL website describes Guy as an “eccen- grounds, a man who systematically contributed to the tric philanthropist”, and goes on to acknowl- after of black people”. She also accused KCL edge that he made his fortune through con- enslavement promoting a “rose-tinted” narrative surroundtroversial practices. The practice they choose of Guy and suggested that there is no shortage to mention? Illegally printing Bibles. There is ing no acknowledgement of his involvement in of better people the campus could be named after. the South Sea Company and the slave trade. We all know that history can’t be changed. We undo the wrongs of the past. However, we Spurred on by the removal of the Edward Colston can’t acknowledge the past and learn from it. The statue in Bristol, which was rolled down to the har- can of Bristol has announced that the Edward bour and pushed into the River Avon by protest- Mayor ers, campaigners want the Thomas Guy statues in Colston statue will be fished out of the River
Avon and displayed in a museum, where visitors can learn about the city’s “true history” and Britain’s involvement in the slave trade as a whole. One BAME student studying in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, who wished to remain anonymous, said “It’s important that King’s owns up to its history. It would have greatly affected my decision to study at KCL, as it feels like having kept the name and statue of Thomas Guy for so long means that they’re proud to be affiliated with him and his values.” She went on to say that “it’s not enough to not be racist, institutions like King’s need to be actively anti-racist.” As I was writing this article, I received an email from my faculty emphasising their support for the Black Lives Matter and asking BAME students to participate in discussions with senior staff and student representatives. From where I stand, BAME students are screaming loud and clear for justice, and I have to wonder if KCL is blissfully ignorant or purposefully ignoring its own students and faculty. I believe KCL needs to match its actions with its words, and make all campuses safe and comfortable places for students and faculty. To sign the petition and make your voice heard, you can click here. At the time of writing, over 7,600 people have signed to try and ensure KCL follows through on its commitment to create an “inclusive environment that promotes equality”.
We K now B et t e r T han t o Rename G u y ’s C am p u s L o u i s Ja c q u e s Staf f Wr ite r
writer Louis Jacques on the recent petiR oar tion to change the name of Guy’s Campus, and why he feels the campus should remain as it is.
Fighting racism in our private and public spaces means examining our environment, behaviour, and places of work and study to understand where we can combat systemic or direct racism. However, it also means doing it well. Removing the statue of Thomas Guy and campaigning to rename Guy’s Campus is not only a historical misunderstanding, but distracts from bigger things we can change at King’s and in London. In a petition created on Wednesday, June 10, which has gathered around 7,600 signatures at the time of writing, King’s student Ayesha Khan and another unnamed first-year student ask Ed Byrne and The Lord Geidt FKC to remove the Thomas Guy statue on the eponymous Guy’s Campus and to take steps to change the campus name and openly publicise Guy’s ties to the slave trade. No more than one day later, in a joint statement with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the organisations decided to remove the statue of Thomas Guy from public view. According to the petition, as well as the comment piece written by Danielle Jones earlier this week, this is because Thomas Guy supposedly “made his fortune (£42,000 in 1720, roughly a massive £400 million today) through his large shares in the South Sea Company [...] which would barter slaves to the Spanish colonies in harrowing conditions.” Thus, as both Khan and Jones detail eloquently, it would be hypocritical of King’s to adopt the “multicultural” and “diverse” identity the university has taken to heart when its secondlargest and second-oldest campus was founded by, named after, and has a statue of a slaver. The problem is that he isn’t. While Khan and Jones are right to seek justice for the normalisation or even glorification of people linked to the slave trade in modern Britain, it is incorrect to link Thomas Guy to the slave trade. The truth is that Guy, a prominent philanthropist in the late 1600s, used his money to buy pay-tickets for English seamen in the 1670s. This was a form of government bond, insofar as he was directly paying English sailors’ wages with the promise of interest payouts. However, thirty years after his investment, the government decided to restructure
debt by converting it into equity: namely, stocks jumping the gun on pointing fingers, or being too in the government-run South Sea Company. quick to critically examine our public and private spaces for institutionalised racism. Ayesha Khan Now at this point, it would make sense to say: was right to question Thomas Guy’s past and our “Wait, that still means that Guy knowingly held university’s strong ties to him, and was especialstock in the slave trade and profited off it.” How- ly right to highlight that King’s did not provide ever, that isn’t the case either. First of all, the a more nuanced biography of the man in quesWhile I disagree entirely with renaming the South Sea Company had only just been estab- tion. or tearing down his statue, it is our Collished in 1711 (the year of the debt-for-equity campus duty to educate properly, and that means swap) and didn’t enter the slave trade until two lege’s on our websites and brochures that years later; its primary purpose for many years underlining Thomas Guy supported a government complicit was as a government debt holding company. in the slave trade, and did buy a small amount of shares in the East India Company late in his life. Secondly, it is potentially unlikely that Guy knew of all his holdings in, and the role of the Com- That is why I am doubly critical of the Univerpany, especially seven years after his debt had sity’s decision yesterday to remove Thomas Guy’s been swapped. He was the son of a lighterman statue from campus. There are strains of racism and an apprentice bookseller who, like many at the core of many departments and faculties government-friendly financiers, had his money King’s which impact thousands of students on all managed by a government-friendly accountant. campuses. I fear that Ed Byrne and others have only decided to remove Guy’s statue as an easy Finally, the period when Guy’s stock-owning did to avoid asking any difficult questions of themcoincide with the South Sea Company selling selves. Our university’s leaders have hidden beslaves leaves uncertainties about the profitability hind a lie so they can wait for this to blow over. of his shareholding and his commitments. It has King’s can do better in so many ways, and has an been reported that Guy sold his stocks at inter- important role to play in society. Our researchers, vals in 1720, after an increase in the SSC’s valu- teachers, and students will shape the world to come, ation, despite the company making no profit in and if we are actually committed to dismantling inthe time he held his shares. However the nature stitutional racism, then we must change the way we of the contract he entered with the SSC is un- learn and teach. King’s have ultimately drawn a false clear, as many stocks of this type had multi-year conclusion about a philanthropist to avoid having commitments much like bonds (some recorded to make any real change, and that is embarrassat five years) and could mean his investment was ing. Put the statue back up, and let’s begin learning legally bound, thus that his choice to own stock from our mistakes instead of hiding from change. coincided with the SSA’s involvement in the slave trade for a much shorter period than portrayed. Footnote: For posterity and historiographical clarity, I wish to quickly lay out the short historiogIn short, because a philanthropist happened to raphy here. I used Elizabeth Donnan’s 1930 “The have his government bonds converted into multi- Early Days of the South Sea Company” as reference which explains the debt-for-credit swap year committed stock in a company which sold material details the Company’s role as an unprofitable slaves, a picture has been painted of Thomas Guy and holding company in Chapter 1. As well as as an active investor in the slave trade. Was it en- debt noting the five-year obligation on many stocks, the tirely morally right to be purchasing these kinds book makes a point to say that Thomas Guy selling of bonds while the government encouraged and his shares at high market before the South Sea bubfacilitated the slave trade? No. However, Guy ble burst in 1920 was the earliest he could sell his did not consciously decide to support the slave shares (p.140). The 2010 article by King’s College trade either, let alone profit off it. Thomas Guy London’s Roger Jones (a doctor, not a historian), many have used to “prove” that Guy profitultimately remains a symbol of charity and phi- which off his shares, not only skips the debt-for-credit lanthropy in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Cen- ed but cites I.C McManus’s paper “The Wealth tury London who set up multiple hospitals and swap, of Distinguished Doctors: Retrospective Survey” almshouses, including our own Guy’s Campus. as proof of Guy’s profiteering, even though McManus’s timeframe was 1860-2001 (136 years after All this is not for me to say that we as a whole are Guy’s death) and does not mention Thomas Guy.
July 2020 Culture Editors Alex Blank Ally Azyan
Jo u r ne y i n g L o c k dow n : T he Pr i v i le g e o f Tr av e l Sara Khash Staf f Wr ite r
writer Sara Khash discuss- edly R oar es the hardships and privileges of travelling during the coronavirus pandemic. Travel. Trip. Trek. Travel in sunglasses or hiking boots. A trip across the water or long car rides in the open air. Treks along the sand or a hike within nature. These simple undertakings, mundane possibilities we take for granted — the ability to buy a ticket and go home, to visit and explore. To most, this is the definition of ‘journey.’ However, when there is a change to the ‘ordinary,’ one must step back and look at one’s privilege to rely on that definition. The sudden travel shutdown left some cast away from their homes. On March 22nd, Greece announced restrictions on all non-essential travels; Greek nationals studying and working in the UK hurried to find a way home, but flights disappeared, websites were down, and hope was lost. My siblings and I would go online to search for tickets every evening, and by the end of May we were no longer disappointed when left empty-handed. Even if we found a connecting flight, the prices were heavy, the flight unreliable, and the conditions upon arrival unknown. On June 8th, Aegean airlines unexpectedly scheduled a cheap flight on the 15th – the day the Greek borders were about to open for a handful of countries, but excluding the UK. We booked a flight without hesitation, and it almost felt as though the gears of society were slowly moving apace again. On June 12th we received a phone call informing us that all flights from the UK had been canceled until July. After the panic settled in and the anxious laughter subsided, with a stroke of luck we found seats for nearly full transit flight through Germany. Eight hours later, we stood in the middle of an unexpect-
packed Heathrow Terminal 2. to wait for testing. The protocols for social distancing had fallen flat by the There was an underlying desire to collective desire for ventilated air. The remain isolated, to prevent any form testing area was made up of police officof interaction that might bring atten- ers standing rigidly by stalls stretched tion to a person. Closed restaurants out across the hall occupied. Medical and coffee shops funnily advertised professionals impatiently tickled the their average wait time of 0 minutes. back of your throat with a swab, and Lines stretched across the airport then you were let go, passed on, and as passengers waited impatiently to led out. No quarantine. Only waiting buy breakfast at Boots or WHSmith. for the results - which never came. Parents snapped at carefree travellers, and older passengers stepped Compulsory Covid-19 testback whenever a child coughed. ing for all passengers traveling into Greece (13/06/2020) Masks seemed to come in many forms. Surgical masks hung loosely As I reflect back, I see the hypocrisy. on ears while some preferred to make I judge my actions, my fears, and a statement with their branded de- my worries. My journey to Greece signs. It is peculiar how even as the was tiresome because of a blatant world unravels, people still hold uncertainty of what to expect. The onto a materialistic image. A cou- simplicity of travel was uncomple stood in front of security and fortably disturbed by the constant took off their flimsy masks to share dread of infection. Such experia goodbye kiss; an interaction of af- ences are not irrelevant, but they’re fection became an image of danger. also not the most treacherous passages taken to cross Greek borders. Both of our flights were fully booked and accompanied by the sooth- Prior to the pandemic, Greeks who ing cries of babies. No seats kept struggled to travel home suggested travellers apart, as had been previ- setting up floating net barriers to ously guaranteed. Two passengers avert refugees entering the counboarded with hazmat suits on, and try. We have taken advantage of our the woman next to them held in her freedom of movement, and criticized breath. On each flight, we were gifted those seeking asylum for not taking anti-bacterial wipes upon entry — a a more “conventional route.” While small gesture with the underlying we were tested upon arrival for the reminder of the mist of panic that benefit of our health and the health has altered humankind’s perspective of our community, most refugees do of the world. Water bottles were dis- not have access to Frist Aid. While we tributed, but meals were not permit- complained of a possibility of stayted. We were removed from the plane ing at a paid hotel room for a night, in groups, forty people at a time. around “20,000 people from 64 different countries” (CNBC) squeeze Everything in Frankfurt seemed to into the horrendous living condibe moving on a different wavelength tions of a refugee camp in Lesvos. than it had in the UK. Bakeries were buzzing, and shops sold their usual There is a fracture in the world’s core, duty-free goods, including hand sani- a heavy feeling of existential angst. tizers and face masks. At passport These overwhelming emotions have control, the officer asked me to re- encouraged humanity to open their move my mask, and I realized that I eyes to the injustices of civilization. had not done so for the last few hours. Our own ‘travel,’ our ‘trip,’ our ‘trek’ was for comfort, not for survival. Upon arrival in Athens, two-hundred passengers were pushed into a room
The Culture Team Alex Blank Culture Editor Ally Azyan Culture Editor Andrew Nunes Staff Writer
Anoushka Chakrapani Staff Writer Arjan Arenas Staff Writer
Camilla Alcini Staff Writer Elena Veris Reynolds Staff Writer Helen Kursten-Holmes Staff Writer Jess Smith Staff Writer Karen Ng Staff Writer Keval Nathwani Staff Writer Molly Green Staff Writer Sara Khash Staff Writer Sayali Marathe Staff Writer
Tr av e l l i n g t h ro ug h Ta s t e : S am i n No s r at ’s S al t Fat A c id He at Je s s S m i t h Staf f Wr ite r
writer Jess Smith reR oar views Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat
Acid Heat, a docu-series that showcases different types of cuisines around the world. Like many of us, I feel as though I have exhausted Netflix’s catalogue during lockdown. I’ve unfortunately discovered that there are only so many times you can watch reruns of Friends or Brooklyn Nine Nine before you become hungry for something new.
had really enjoyed it. I was skeptical. In the past, I tended to avoid cooking shows. Like Masterchef, they’re either a bit too stressful, or not interesting enough. I soon found, however, that Nosrat’s work does not subscribe to the typical ‘cooking show’ format. Based on the book of the same name, the docu-series comprises four episodes, in which Nosrat travels around the world discovering how different cultures use each of the titular elements in their cooking.
While discussing my new found Food Basics streaming ennui, a friend recom-
into these four simple elements gives Nosrat’s work this magical ability to maintain relevance. Her character is effervescent; you can tell Nosrat has a youthful desire to learn about cooking and culture, as well as an inclination to form meaningful connections with the people she meets. It is this curiosity that is the driving force behind her work. On her journey, Nosrat listens and learns alongside the viewer, from the experts of the foodstuff she is investigating. Perhaps my favourite segment is in the Acid episode, where Nosrat meets beekeepers in the Yucután state of Mexico. They farm a particular honey only found in the region, called Melipona. I, for one, had no idea that honey could even be considered an acid. It’s these small takeaways that make Salt Fat Acid Heat special in my opinion.
Despite the great geographical lengths Nosrat has gone to, and how seemingly far removed this food is from my humble British kitchen, I have been able to take away notes on the four elements that I can apply to my own cooking. In the Salt episode, Nosrat discusses how diverse an effect of different kinds of salts can have on a dish, and how the application of such can be transformative. Nosrat’s work is grounded in reality - an idea she returns to throughout the series is ‘the best way to know if something is right, is to taste it’. I think this is something a lot of professional chefs over - there truly is no submended that I give Samin Nosrat’s Breaking down the world of food skip stitute for tasting as you go along. Salt Fat Acid Heat a watch, as she
Home and Away Seeing Nosrat travel the world while we are stuck inside provides much comfort. The stunning visuals of the places featured in the series are not lost on the viewer. Particularly in the Fat episode, the overhead shots of Liguria, Italy are magnificent, and help the viewer to understand the innate connection between the geographic and the culinary, as well as reinforcing human connection. The setting of a small town makes Nosrat’s lesson on pesto from an Italian Nonna somehow more wholesome. That’s the great thing about Salt Fat Acid Heat; the message of Nosrat’s work is to share the joy of cooking, and this is apparent throughout. In the last episode Heat, Nosrat learns to cook Tahdig, a Persian rice dish, from her Mother. They film this in Nosrat’s home. Reducing the art of cooking to what it looks like for the audience - in a home kitchen, with family - makes this wonderfully accessible to those for whom cooking was perhaps an uncharted or unnerving realm. Even for the seasoned chefs among us, the show serves as a reminder of the simplicity of cooking. With each element that is explored on Salt Fat Acid Heat, Nosrat invites us to travel through our taste buds, so that even if we are stuck inside for now, our food will still know no limit.
W h y We G at he re d Ro u n d t he C o o ke r D u r i n g C o ro nav i r u s Mo l l y G r e e n Staf f Wr ite r
writer Molly Green on R oar changed in our daily lives
how cooking has One customer, who uses a bandana as a mask and carduring lockdown. ries his groceries in a wicker basket, presented me with bicarbonate of soda, porridge oats and prosecco. Cake inThe link between food and normality has never been clear- gredients, we all remember, were nonexistent, but he was er than during lockdown. I have been working in a food determined to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. The ritual shop since the beginning of April and seen firsthand how of eating cake on a birthday is but one demonstration of comfort-eating is a crutch for us all. As normality slowly re- how food, routine and comfort can be inextricable. Fursumes, this Culinary Arts Month I want to reflect on the con- ther is the care in the act of home baking, a demonstraversations about food that began when closed restaurants tion of love that felt especially necessary in lockdown. and empty shelves made creative home cooking a necessity. Cooking and eating fill time, which we’ve had a lot of, but It feels like a long time ago that, as the likelihood of gov- there’s also the therapeutic value of cooking; these last few ernment-enforced lockdown grew, people stockpiled pas- months made it unavoidable, so we all learnt to engage in ta, baked beans and toilet roll. The commentary on this it, if not necessarily enjoy it. Putting effort into sourcing inwas constant and quickly very dull, so I won’t dwell. Yet gredients and following a recipe is a change from a normalI wasn’t ever disinterested in the overheard conversations ity not long established, insofar as ready meals and affordabout how someone had substituted a missing ingredi- able dining out are relatively new phenomena. By trying to ent or found a corner shop miraculously well stocked. replicate the normality of once-a-week Wagamamas, you might have taught yourself to make katsu curry at home. In an atmosphere of vague hostility, with routine virtually gone - or gone virtual - I started to obsess over what was Mealtimes are difficult to fit into a ‘normal’ day of work or deemed ‘necessary’ shopping. The idea of necessity is ac- uni, yet suddenly they hold time together. The value of food tually hard to pin down. Sustenance is obviously needed, is structural, emotional, and often-overlooked. Conversabut surely so is variety; once this is accounted for then tions about food didn’t begin with lockdown, but they were so must favourite foods be; now treats, distractions, con- elevated by our shared need for community and solidarity. solatory chocolate. A packet of sweets might seem frivo- Hopefully, the new value in food won’t be lost; keep eating lous but contains an hour of quiet for parents unused to well, or start, and mark Culinary Arts Month 2020. spending so much time with their kids. The latter is a conversation I’ve had often during the last few weeks.
R i z A h me d ’s T he L o n g G o o d b ye : Mu s ic a s Pro t e s t An o u s h k a C h a k r a p a n i
mixed cultures, but I was so f***ng stupid / Didn’t stop to think how badly it would just confuse them”).
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“T hey you
ever ask you, from?’, Like, you really from?’”
This is not Riz MC or the Swet Shop Boys, this is Riz Ahmed. The rapper, actor and activist pens a powerful wake-up call for the post-Brexit UK, for what it means to be brown in Britain, for what it means to be British. In this conceptual album, accompanied by a short film, he unravels trauma, both inherited and lived-in, that breaks down the abusive relationship with Britain over centuries. This fifteen-track masterpiece reels you in with “The Breakup (Shikwa).” It gives you a glimpse of inter-generational trauma and schools you about colonialism in a way the UK education system never could. The spoken word track rapped to alap needs to be played multiple times for you to grasp each and every nuance. Britain is Britney, a woman who represents colonialism, and this is Riz Ahmed’s break-up with her. He details exploitation, may it be economic or physical; starting with the East India Company, ending up at present-day Kashmir. He covers it all with biting lyrics that stick with you for days. This one about partition has been on my mind in particular: “Carved a scar down my middle just to leave me stretched out / I survived her attempt to dead man but the bleeding never ends, man.” Ahmed has managed to pack years worth of struggle, violence and oppression in this one track, spelling out the complicated identities of first and secondgeneration immigrants (“A future of
“Othered” by his own home, he explores the dangers of the rising farright and xenophobia in the powerful short film directed by Aneil Karia (“Britannia’s trying to throw me out, Brittney, baby, please stop”). The hasty manjira beat in “Fast Lava” builds urgency and makes you swell with panic when layered on top of distressing handheld-camera visuals. Let me just say one thing without spoiling the video for you - it’s not far from reality. Pogroms and lynchings against Muslims in India, as well as Islamophobia more apparent than ever with Trump as President - it’s a state of constant fear of the “when.” There is disbelief in his voice when he raps this track (“Who gave you jewelry? Gave you real food to eat”), disbelief in having to break down what Britain truly is, if not the BAME individuals who built this country from the ground up. The Koh-i-Noor is a recurring motif in his work, symbolic not just for the looting but also the culture that is a part of the UK. The diamond is still locked up in the Tower of London, along with other stolen cultures placed in glass containers for us to applaud at the British Museum. “Toba Tek Singh” navigates writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s story of the same name, questioning belongingness post-partition. Riz Ahmed is left in a “no man’s land” like Bishan Singh in the short story. Singh witnesses his country divided and is unreasonably forced to “go back home,” which resonates not just with post-Brexit UK but also the Black Lives Matter movement. The displacement of 20 million people after the split of India and Pakistan, the largest mass migration in
human history, flows across the dec- He has never shied away from the poades he covers. After all, history is not litical. It is inherently a part of us, and a single line; it’s a complicated web. he gets that. It’s our privilege that allows us to ignore it. His songs docuHe combines academia with music ment real experiences of British South that removes the formal suit and tie Asian communities whose Britishness coldness it brings with it. Drawing has been questioned, during the Bush on Salman Rushdie and his own per- administration (“Post 9/11 Blues”) or formance in Rogue One: A Star Wars post-Brexit (“Where You From”). He Story, Ahmed is no stranger to us- is making history as he writes about ing dark humour to foreground the it. In his own words: Riz Ahmed is Fuproblematic government policies as ture meets Fanon. seen in “The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get The Job Done).”
One Story a Day: Reflections on the “Like the Prose” Challenge Alex Blank
n June 2020, I signed up for The Literal Challenge’s Like the Prose, where I was expected to write a piece of prose every day based on daily briefs sent to my email address. There was plenty of flexibility allowed in the project: one could have chosen a timed route, where they had to send in a new piece of prose every day; or a creative route, where one got a prompt every day, but they could send as few or as many works as they pleased. I chose the former, and I completed it, but it was not an easy task. Although I’m not able to tell if anything I’d written is valuable, I did learn a few things about my own writing process. June 1st
I’m done. I wrote the last piece in the form of a letter to a loved one, since I was still feeling restless after a certain fallJune 17th ing out with them the other day. Life begets art; maybe art will beget life back— I finally get it. For the past few days, I’ve been or a connection, at least? Not that I’m trying to focus so much on plot - I had too great at human interaction as it is, and little time to focus on the characters and my maybe that’s why I prefer to write stories. joy of depth, and wanted to get it over with, so I concentrated solely on the surface-level I don’t regret taking part in this challenge, what’s going on - that I dropped my strength. though I’m not sure if I’d do it again. If there’s anything I’ve learned from it, it’s that Every writer approaches things differently, I should trust my process, my intuition, my and I, at my best (am I at a level where I starting points, my timing. If I prefer to can refer to “my best,” though?), move focus on 90% insufferable streams of confrom the inward world of the character sciousness and only 10% on plot, maybe out to the story, and that damned plot. If there is a market for that somewhere? I try to start at the latter, things feel stale and I don’t enjoy the writing as much. The second thing I’ve learned is something that, in the consumerist, showy, entrepreI am learning something about myself here, neurial world we live in, is becoming harder after all. to maintain: quality over quantity. Having written thirty whole pieces of prose, I can June 28th say with certainty that I’d rather write one truly great work than many mediocrities. They’re going easy on us, possibly as a reward for sticking through it. Today, we’re Nonetheless, I do not regret it. If anysupposed to pick our favourite story from the challenge (or the longest one) thing, it was an exercise in perseverance and shorten it by half. I guess they’re try- and self-trust. Now that it’s over, and I ing to make us learn to kill our darlings, have nothing tangible to force me to write, which is most certainly not my strong suit. I can return to my chronic sense of guilt for not writing and doing enough. June 30th
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write this, and it made up for all the negative energy I might have begun to transmit. June 12th It’s the second day trilogy; my very first.
I noticed that I have a tendency to fearfreeze before ever typing the first word of anything, so I’ve decided to change my approach: whether I have an idea or not, I write and write and never stop until I’m at an end. The story can suck, as long as I have something to work on after the challenge.
Write something on the theme of a blank Who knows, maybe adding the motif of a pork page. Fitting for a start. It can’t be that hard, pie hat on a whim might reap its own benefits? right? If all briefs are as specific yet open as this one, then it should be quite fun to do this. June 15th June 9th I’m so done with this. I never want to write anything ever again. Expected to write a prosimetrum, the pale This is terrible and I want to quit. fire of my motivation turned sour at first— then I ended up having the most fun I’d had I’m pretty sure I haven’t made enough since starting the challenge. Shakespearian research for my sob story of smile simisonnets, meets feeble attempts at keeping a les to be anything more than fan ficrelationship afloat, meets history repeating tion; not that I’m a big fan of Mona Lisa, itself; meets a breakup haiku via e-mail. It but that was the inspiration for today. was truly enjoyable to
T he F u t u re o f Pe r f o r m i n g A r t s S o c iet ie s i n a S o c i al ly D i s t anc e d Wo rl d E l e n a Ve r i s R e y n o l d s Staf f Wr ite r
lucky to have a lively We’re student performing arts
scene at King’s, including many musical, dramatic and dance societies. However, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic posed a real problem for many of these societies, as many of their activities rely on close personal contact at rehearsals, workshops and shows. In the case of the Dance Society, King’s Opera and King’s Musical Theatre, large-scale shows and concerts mere days away had to be cancelled. Plans for the rest of the academic year had to be put on hold. The future for next year is also uncertain, and with very little in the way of guidance for close contact activities, even the existence of these societies may be under threat. Despite the difficulties that social distancing imposed, many performance societies have done their best to adapt to online activities. The KCL Jazz Society are currently organising several virtual performances, including of Sammy Nestico’s ‘Strike Up The Band’ and Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade,’ featuring musicians from across multiple departments at King’s. Similarly, the Modern Music Society held a virtual performance of John Cage’s 4’33’’, which they say was a “bonding moment” that allowed musicians to appreciate the universal experience of silence.
turned to is written media. The leading student theatre society, The King’s Players, are organising a ‘zine’ that will allow members to showcase their creative pursuits, and are dedicating it to the many theatres in the UK that are on the brink of shutting down (they are looking for graphic designers to collaborate with). Similarly, KCL Comedy Society have founded a new satire column in conjunction with Roar News called ‘Maughan Hub’ and are currently recruiting writers. Social media has also been a useful tool, with Dance Society holding online dance and yoga sessions on Facebook and Instagram. They told Roar they wanted to focus on mental health and introduce their members to different coping strategies, as well as raise money for good causes along the way.
sales. Many expressed concerns that if they are unable to put on shows, their societies’ finances will suffer, with the King’s Players telling Roar they have to majorly rethink where they will get their funding from in order to sustain their projects next year. A lack of guidelines from the government or KCLSU isn’t helping with any of these concerns, leaving these societies in a precarious position and making planning anything for next year very difficult. When contacted about guidance, KCLSU said they were unable to confirm any details regarding capacity, times or guidelines for societies, other
than that student groups should ety expressed their sadness at the “plan for digital activities for now” closure, describing it as “cosy hub and wait for more information. for a lot of performing societies.” The GKT Music society, who run a non-auditioned choir and orchestra, told Roar they have contingency plans to hold all rehearsals and concerts online, but expressed that this was far from ideal. Other societies, such as the KCL Symphony Orchestra, are planning to hold smaller scale ensembles and rehearsals. Another blow came in the form of the Philosophy Bar shutting down. The KCLSU venue, which will not open again in September, provided a vital informal performance space. KCL Comedy Soci-
It is clear that life at King’s will look very different next year, and performance societies may have to adapt and change very quickly to keep up with the situation. However, there is hope, and the online activities organised by these societies so far have not only provided some solace through the lockdown, but have laid out a blueprint for how things might function next year. All interviews were conducted virtually.
Unfortunately, there is only so much that can ever be done online, especially in societies that are traditionally focused on shows and concerts. Many had concerns about how the logistics of their societies would function. The Rolling Tones, King’s female a cappella ensemble, told us that not being able to meet in person would be difficult, as “so much of a cappella is about the blend of the group’s voices.” KCL Breakin’, who have been holding street dance classes and battles online, told Roar they are only a “pale imitation” of in-person activities.
Perhaps an even bigger worry relates to the fact that a lot of these get the majority of their Another alternative some have societies funding from the revenue of ticket
Ro c ky Ho r ro r 4 5 Ye ar s L at e r : L et ’s D o t he T i me War p A g ai n ! Ally Azyan
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later, The Rocky Hor4 5roryearsPicture Show remains
Tim Curry or Patricia Quinn. The 2016 remake was no better. iconic in the film industry. It At least Laverne Cox’s reprisal pays tribute to B-Horror Mov- of Curry’s role as Dr. Frankies and early science fiction films N-Furter saved the adaptation. - favourites of Richard O’Brien, who played Riff Raff and was I will admit that I was reluctant the screenwriter of the movie. to watch this musical, as I never found the title appealing, neither I first heard of Rocky Horror did I try to appreciate its campifrom Glee’s tribute episode, where ness or quirky value. It’s safe to say they covered seven songs; how- that I fell into the common trap ever, not doing the original sing- of judging the book by its cover. ers much justice. It sounded far After reading its Wikipedia sumtoo perfect and lacked the fun mary sometime last year, and reand raw emotions expressed by visiting that Glee episode, I found
myself curious and intrigued by dancing, it makes you want to strut its ‘risqué material,’ as Emma down a hallway. You can see that Pillsbury describes it in the show. he does not feel uncomfortable or shy in his clothing; in fact, he emAs the movie opens with my sec- braces it and wears it with pride. ond-favourite number, ‘Science That’s what makes his overall charFiction, Double Feature,’ the lyr- acter so likeable, despite being the ics attract my attention instantly: antagonist. He does not care for ‘Michael Rennie was ill / The day judgement or criticism, which the earth stood still,’ ‘Anne Francis renders Dr. Frank-N-Furter apstars in Forbidden Planet’ (Francis pealing to both women and men. also played Georgia in my other favourite musical, Funny Girl). The unthreatening and mild naThe song clearly shows O’Brien’s tures of Brad and Janet further the unusual creepiness love for Science Fiction B-Horror highlight the aliens from ‘Transsexual Movies, such as It Came from of ’ Their fascinaOuter Space, When Worlds Col- Transylvania. tion over humans (the creation lide, and so many more. It was fas- of Rocky, a hot, blond man with cinating, to say the least, to learn a tan), along with their strange from these titles that once enter- weapons - like the ‘Medusa Transtained my grandparents and great- ducer’ and the laser gun that grandparents; to see what thrilled penetrates the body - contribute the features of a typical scior scared them a long time ago. to ence fiction movie. From here, we an idea of how people in the You must be wondering: what’s my have late 20th century, a period where favourite number in the musical? astronomical science became a ‘Sweet Transvestite’ performed by common interest, thought about Curry never fails to give me the extraordinary beings and space. chills. Dressed in lingerie and high heels, he emanates confidence and My favourite scene would have be Eddie’s (the ex-delivery boy boldness that is unique to him to by Meat Loaf) perforonly. Everything about this perfor- played It’s not every day that you mance is perfect - from the handy- mance. get someone busting through the men’s backup vocals to the sensual door of a deep freezer and pro-
ceeding to sing ‘Hot Patootie.’ In this five-minute scene, Eddie showcases his charm and talent while riding his motorcycle around Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s guests. There is so much chaos going on, you can’t help but want to join the fun. He may not be as handsome as Brad, but he definitely makes up for it with his charisma – something that Dr. Frank-N-Furter is jealous of, as Eddie begins to attract Rocky. The web of attraction and love squares or hexagons among the cast are a symbol of sexual liberation and defy the conventional cycle of love. Rocky Horror never fails to make me laugh. The plot should not be something to concentrate on. Instead, it should be the songs, the strange body language, the naivety of Brad and Janet, and the overall inappropriateness of it. Its ending is neither happy nor sad. It hangs in the air like an imperfect cadence of a song, as the criminologist concludes that humans are like insects crawling on the soil of earth; just like Brad, Janet and Dr Scott, who crawl out of the remains of the castle that had lifted itself off into space. As sung by Riff Raff: let’s go ‘see androids fighting Brad and Janet.’
PR I DE I N S amue l de S a b o i a , a ‘ B lac k Q ue e r B o d y ’ A n d r e w Nu n e s Staf f Wr ite r
celebration of Pride Month and the Lives Matter movement, Roar writI nBlack ers share their recommendations and reflec-
tions on black queer culture.
Samuel de Saboia is an Afro-Brazilian queer artist, born in Recife, Brazil in 1998. He speaks, in abstract and emotive ways, to the black and LGBTQ+ communities. Saboia’s debut solo exhibition, Unamerican Beauty, took place in 2019 in Los Angeles, curated by New York’s GHOST Gallery. According to the artist, the exhibition was ‘a chant to those names, bodies, vessels, and souls who represent the best, but are misrepresented as embodiments of the worse.’ These words resonate with the negative stereotypes of minority communities, as well as assumptions of the LGBTQ+ community by conventional and conservative standards of society, which lead to misunderstandings. Saboia uses his art pieces as instruments to address these matters; to ask, discuss, and pave the way for others like him. As a ‘black queer body,’ he sees himself as a political message - which is a fundamental element in understanding his art. A few examples of art pieces from the exhibition are ‘Queer Voids’ and, the exhibition’s namesake, ‘Unamerican Beauty.’ The two abstract pieces are reminiscent of neo-expressionism, an art movement of the twentieth century that Saboia evokes with a message that is as relevant today as it had been in 2019. ‘Queer Voids’ by Samuel de Saboia.
‘Queer Voids’ uses mix media on leather, and features lapis blue and beige that wraps around heads, faces – memories. The green colour, in an optimistic spring-like bloom, contrasts with the black space as the ‘void,’ representing queer experiences vying for recognition in this space. It is a work that portrays the non-space of queer experience, one between society and capital.
struggles and threats of violence that he and others of the LGBTQ+ community have experienced in Brazil. The country has other historical and popular black queer heroes, such as Matame Satã (João Francisco dos Santos, 1900-1976), yet this has not led to their wide acceptance in the country, in part due to the homophobic discourse from the president, Jair Bolsonaro.
‘Unamerican Beauty’ by Samuel de Saboia.
The matters that Saboia’s works speaks of are topical for us in the United Kingdom, too. Various British intuitions have been as culpable of discrimination as Brazil. It was only January 31st 2017 when the British Government fully recognised the natural rights of homosexuals and bisexuals by posthumously pardoning thousands of those previously convicted of having consensual same-sex intercourse, something that had been criminalised until 1967. 2017 is concerningly recent, demonstrating how slowly things improve within the realms of state institutions and its bureaucracy. Many issues are still not fully addressed in contemporary Western society, which is evident in the solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement around the world, calling to an end of police brutality and systemic forms of racism.
‘Unamerican Beauty’ uses a mix of media on linen. On its left side, the piece displays a white figure that symbolises white hegemony within Western society. Its dominance is shown through the ‘taking-up’ of space within the art piece. On the right side is the representation of racial diversity and various identities. These bodies are framed and packed together in allegiance, side-lined in a space representative of their real existence; on the peripheral edge of Western society ruled by, predominantly, a white elite. Both art pieces speak of struggle and the need to acknowledge inequalities concerning black lives and the LGBTQ+ community. Their abstraction conveys the subtle discriminations they continuously face, while the use of striking colours speaks of how they are not marginal characters but, rather, human beings deserving of serious and meaningful recognition. The messages present in Saboia’s art reflect the shades of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s social and political commentary; yet this is not a comparison meant to diminish Saboia’s art, as his afro-Brazilian queer experiences are a valuable perspective, highlighting these issues beyond Brazil. Saboia’s work is significant because it recognises the continual
Saboia uses art as a medium very much tied to the expression of self, race and sexuality - he brings these aspects of identity centre stage within his art and their surrounding discussion. Contemporary artists like Saboia are some of the more recent figures that challenge racial, sexual and gender discrimination, reflecting these realities through thought-provoking art, and providing insight into his own experiences and perspectives as a ‘black queer body’ in predominately white conservative spaces.
A u d re L o rde , t he Fem i n i s t an d L G B T Q + Ic o n He l e n Ku r s t e n - Ho l m e s
n celebration of Pride Month and the Black Lives Matter movement, Roar writers share their recommendations and reflections on black queer culture. As we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community this Pride month, we must also celebrate the critical and inspirational work that black queer artists, authors and activists have achieved and continue to achieve. While there are copious amounts of prominent figures, one figure who deserves attention is the American writer, Audre Lorde, whose literature has an enduring power, especially in this current climate of the Black Lives Matter movement and global protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, police brutality and systemic racism. Lorde openly discussed and wrote about the pervasive racial inequalities in society, as a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” she was no stranger to it but instead of shrinking from this, she used poetry to champion and give recognition to differences in race, sexuality and class, while advocating for civil and human rights. Audre Lorde was born in New York City in 1934 to Caribbean immigrants. She was in high school when at the age of 15 her first poem was published in Seventeen Magazine. She graduated from Hunter College in 1959, and com-
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pleted her master’s from Columbia University two years later. Lorde continued writing poetry during her academic studies and while working as a librarian, but it was in 1968 that her first volume of poems The First Cities was published. A writer of poetry, essays, non-fiction and memoirs, themes such as racial and social injustices, gender inequalities and black female identity are at the heart of her works. Lorde was also central to many liberation movements, dedicating her life to confronting injustices and advocating for civil rights and LGBTQ equality. She famously participated in 1979’s National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights. She encouraged a generation of people to fuse the personal with the political and notably explored the intersections of race, class and gender in her canonical essay The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. Lorde received many honours in her lifetime for her literature and activism. In 1987 she received the Borough of Manhattan President’s Award for Literary Excellence, and was named the Poet Laureate of New York State in 1991 a year before her death aged 58. Lorde once said that “revolution is not a onetime event”, her words can be seen as an omen of these turbulent times. She was not afraid to speak about difficult or controversial subjects despite the backlash that it often caused. Her feminism pushed back against society’s tendency to cat-
egorise, and she dismissed the exclusive categories of lesbian or black woman because she refused to prioritise one aspect of her identity over another. She mentions this struggle most vividly in her autobiography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name where she writes “it was hard enough to be black, to be black and female, to be black, female, and gay. To be black, female, gay and out of the closet in a white environment”. Lorde’s analysis of feminism was deeply intersectional as she believed that gender oppression was inextricably linked to other oppressive systems like racism, homophobia and classism. She also criticised second-wave feminism for not being a true reflection of all women’s struggles particularly women of colour, since it largely focused on the experiences of white middle-class women. In 1981, Lorde delivered a speech at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference where she described that too often, anger is viewed as divisive to feminism or intimidating to address. She believed that mainstream culture seeks to deter white people and people of colour from responding to racism and dismantling the status quo. Anger for Lorde is an understandable emotional response to racism and oppression of any kind, that must be listened to. She also encourages us to embrace our differences and complexities, remarking in her speech that “the strength of women lies in recognising dif-
ferences between us as creative, and in standing to those distortions which we inherited without blame, but which are now ours to alter”. Though Lorde wrote The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action in 1977, it feels extremely relevant. In this short rousing essay, she asks readers to not be silent on important issues and explains the importance of overcoming fears to speak out about the injustices that are dividing society. As an activist, Lorde emphasised the silent dangers of acquiescence and inaction, she encourages us to not live our lives in silence because as she states in her powerful mantra “your silence will not protect you”. It is therefore, not enough to recognise an injustice; it must be spoken out against. You cannot stay silent on topics such as racism and the issues that the LGBTQ+ community continue to face. Audre Lorde speaks for people who stood up for equality and freedom but were knocked down and silenced. Her rage rings through these times. Now, just as much as ever, Audre Lorde instructs us that “it is not difference which immobilises us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken”.
T he C o lo r Pu r p le b y A l ic e Wal ke r Ally Azyan
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conclude our Pride in series, culture editors, Ally and Alex Blank, share their reflections on T oAzyan the significance of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.
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men are often based on fear, boundaries and labels, whereas the ones with women - most notably, with Shug - are more multifaceted. Celie’s feelings for Shug are sexual, but she also treats the latter as a maternal figure, a friend, even someone to admire. Their connection is not based on any particular signifier, such as mother, daughter, friend, lover; they can perform all and/or neither of those, without the pressure of definitions, so any rules or boundaries of intimacy they had to create themselves. As a result, their relationship is given a chance of complete freedom to do and be whoever they want to be with and within themselves.
Alice Walker’s 1982 novel, The Color Purple, although it tackles issues such as racial oppression or slavery, is much more subtle in its scope. It centres around a female protagonist, Celie, and presents her growth as a woman and a human being through the epistolary form. By portraying the character’s changing relationship to God, other people and her own self, Walker moves away from the prevalent focus of Black pain in literature, and instead gives us a glimpse into the joy of life, regard- The epistolary form itself suggests a theme of another kind of less of its conflicts and struggles, while also giving insight into freedom - one of communication. The fact that Celie’s letters are the fluidity of sexuality and the ever-present ghosts of slavery. addressed to God is also significant in terms of how her understanding of him/her shifts throughout the novel. Although she Celie must endure numerous hardships throughout the novel, writes to God to escape her violent father, she still considers him/ especially during her early years of marriage. She faces constant her a masculine figure. As she loses her faith in God, it is Shug who abuse and hatred from her stepfather, Alphonso, and her hus- invites Celie to reimagine the figure out of the framework she’d band, Albert - both of whom hold the view that women should been taught to envision him/her, and to consider God an elusive be second to men and disciplined through extreme measures. it, outside of any framework or label. At the end of the novel, she This is a microcosm of the oppression Black women faced and writes: “Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. still face today, from society and from white people and Black Dear Everything. Dear God,” which indicates God’s immersion in men in particular. There have been many studies that show those the fabric of life, not as a figure superior to her, but one present in inequalities, from pregnant-related deaths to being a victim of everything. This change might also be analogous to the contrast a large race and gender wage gap, which suggests the oppres- between Celie’s relationships with men and the one with Shug. sive dynamics of power within many opposite-sex relationships. Towards the end of the story, Celie finally stands up to Albert, which symbolises her independence and empowerment. It demThe contrast in Celie’s various relationships indicates a signifi- onstrates that she is not intimidated by the gender role she’d been cant difference between opposite-sex and same-sex relation- assigned to, and that she does not have to continue to be a victim ships, one that is based on the presence or the absence of any of patriarchy. There is a presence of Alice Walker’s (a feminist of framework to which one must adhere. Her relationships with colour herself) belief in womanism, which she believes is a part of
feminism as “purple is to lavender.” She illustrates how important it is for us to support Black women who undergo such treatment on a daily basis, and to continue to protect and empower them. As Celie matures throughout the novel, there is a shift in mood from dark and depressing to more optimistic and hopeful. This occurs simultaneously with the acceptance of her sexuality, which changes her relationship with God and the way she sees life. Celie embraces the complexities of her sexuality by seeing the positive impact that it has brought upon her life; she finds love, identity, confidence and youth. The 44-yearold Celie lives through the teenage years she’d missed out on when forced into adulthood too early in life. Through her, Walker shows a hopeful side for many who are in the midst of struggling with their sexuality. Despite living in the 1950s, where many were still conservative, Celie overcomes this fear through self-acceptance, which helps shape her as a person. Outside of Celie’s world, the 1960s have witnessed the Stonewall Uprising, which plays a crucial part in the gay liberation movement. Two important figures to note are Marsha P. Johnson and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, two Black trans women who were the pioneers of the riots and have contributed a lot to the LGBTQ+ Pride. They should not be forgotten, and we must continue to support their cause in the present day. By fighting for Black rights, we are also fighting for the LGBTQ+ community - and both history and literature, both large- and small-scale narratives, can give us insight into the fight for equality and freedom, either in society at large or within one’s sense of self. While we support the ongoing riots, we should also educate ourselves by reading books on the matter. Walker’s novel, among many others, celebrates both Black and LGBTQ+ experiences, both of which we should understand and empathise with; we are all human beings, after all.
Sport The Sport Team Alfie Wilson Sport Editor Akshat Chandel Staff Writer Bogdan Pietrosanu Staff Writer Joe Booth Staff Writer Keval Nathwani Staff Writer Louis Jacques Staff Writer Lucy Thornton Staff Writer Minsuk Ju Staff Writer Navneet Ramloll Staff Writer Samuel Pennifold Staff Writer Scarlett Carney Staff Writer Shairyaar Ahmad Staff Writer Sunil Thakur Staff Writer 8th July 2020 sees a reT he markable new innovation
for Cricket. The Test Series originally planned for June this year was postponed because of obvious issues surrounding COVID-19. The series seemed unlikely to take place until late May when the West Indian Cricket Board agreed ‘in principle’ to a series subject to the changing nature of the pandemic. The details were agreed in early June. The arrangements in place for this series are unprecedented. The games will be played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Old Trafford and will be played in a bio-safe environment without the presence of spectators. Captain Jason Holder, of the West Indians, seemed to recognise the significance of this extraordinary departure saying, “This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general […] A lot has gone into the preparations for what will
July 2020 2019 Sport Editor Alfie Wilson
Marc u s Ra s h f o rd an d a H i s t o ry o f B lac k A dv o c ac y i n Sp o r t s S a m u e l Pe n n i f o l d Po d c a st E ditor
Rashford is an icon, his M arcus name can sit comfortably in the
Marcus Rashford’s work is an example of why people should get involved in the history of black advocacy within democratic and political process even if sport. He now belongs with the likes they lose faith. You always have the powof Muhammed Ali, Lebron James and er to affect change and can inspire others. Serena Williams. He is, like these, a Marcus Rashford has done just that, worthy hero too children around the and one example comes from our city world. Sport can be a great unifying of London in the Community Kitchen factor, a chance to express and cel- Initiative. This combined effort from ebrate human hard work, dedication the London Rowing Club, catering and talent from all works of life. It company Dinner Ladies and charalso forces normal people, like Mar- ity City Harvest is a community-driven cus Rashford, into the public eye and scheme to provide free meals to the vulnerable residents of London gives them huge platforms. Rashford most every week distributed by the Dons has provided an example of how to use that platform to effect change.
Local Action Group. Stewart Harries of the London Rowing Club said they “fully support Marcus’s campaign”. London Based Football Club Fulham FC have also pledged their support. Sport can bring out the best and the worst in us, football is not free of its issues with racism, but here Marcus Rashford has truly shown the best of us. He has reminded us that individuals still and always will have the power to change the system and he has done so making Manchester United and footballs around the world proud. As he said, “THIS is England in 2020”.
The open letter written to MPs, shared on Twitter originally, that Marcus Rashford used to call for free meals to be provided to vulnerable children over summer has received over 110 thousand retweets and 300 thousand likes. Support immediately flooded in from various MPs and influential figures across sports and beyond. His now successful campaign to provide free school meal vouchers to approximately 1.3 million vulnerable children over the summer holidays is something to be celebrated. As many including the shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said, this is not a political issue. This is a human issue, with real children who are suffering. No child should feel the force of inequality in this country by going to sleep hungry No mother or father or carer should have to worry about putting food on their child’s plate. Not when so few have so much.
E n g lan d an d T he We s t I n d ie s : C r ic ket , C O V I D - 1 9 , Rac e be a new phase in the game.” What this means for the wider cricketing world, The County Championship, The Hundred, and T20 remains to be seen, but will no doubt focus the minds of Cricket Boards to step up their efforts to engage more people in the sport if they are going to survive the dearth of the recession and already dwindling interest in the sport. Nevertheless, the return of cricket highlights to the BBC and broadcast revenues not being lost means that the £380m projected loss will, thankfully, be averted. Another, less pleasant, aspect of this Test Series will be the context of racial tension following the murder of George Floyd in May this year. It has never been forgotten that slavery in the West Indian Colonies was, in part, a British invention and the legacy of that racism remained until 1976 when Captain Tony Greig made the unsavoury comment, “I intend to make them grovel”.
Ke v a l Na t hw a n i Staf f Wr ite r
This comment aimed at the West Indian Cricket team had the effect of unleashing a torrent of passionate intensity and anger. The West Indians subsequently aimed their fast pace attack not only towards England’s batting order, but also to, “defeating racism on the playing field”. In the end, it was captain Greig himself who was made to grovel after a humiliating “blackwash” 3-0 defeat in the series. The West Indies went on to dominate International Test Cricket until 1991. They epitomised an Afro-Carribean spirit that rejoiced in their black identities. Vivian Richards, a leading West Indian Batsman, embodied this spirit alongside Bob Marley and became the darling of the Caribbean. Even in Britain, West Indians who arrived as part of the Windrush Generation to help rebuild the country after the Second World
War finally found proud identi- now embraces multiracialism. ties to celebrate embodied by the West Indian Cricket Team. It would not, however, go unnoticed, if like Andy Murray The ideal of cricket is rightly held the entire English Cricket team up as an aspiration to decency, followed his example and took fairplay, and sportsmanship. Like a knee in solidarity with their most ideals that is all it remains. black counterparts, opponents, Cricket’s struggle with racism and compatriots. This, I think, over the decades demonstrates would be a deeply impressive that even on the playing field it is and salutary way of approachdifficult to remove the barriers so ing cricket’s less than pleasant many people face. In recent years legacy with race. It would also significant progress has been be entirely in keeping with the made. Comments like Greig’s ideal of cricket as a gentlemanly have been replaced by the emmi- sport. Murray said, “I’m trying nently decent Joe Root who said my best to learn and understand of Holder’s West Indian Team, a little bit more about the Black Lives Matter movement and sys“One thing that stood out temic racism and sport is not was how formidable their free from that either”. I have no bowling attack can be.” doubt that Joe Root, the decent captain and person that he is, will The presence of Moeen Ali, not recoil from this and I hope Adil Rashid, and Jofra Archer will follow Murray’s example. as minority ethnic players in a multiethnic English Cricket July; 8-12 1st Test, Southampton team also demonstrates that 16-20 2nd Test, Old Trafford 24English Cricket has recon- 28, 3rd Test, Old Trafford. ciled its previous prejudice and
T he Prem ie r L e a g ue Re s t ar t an d M i x e d Re s u l t s i n Mo re Way s t han One A l f i e Wi l s o n Sp or t E ditor
and thousands of hours T housands of football, each more climactic
than the last! Constant, dizzying, 24 hour, yearlong, endless, football! Every kick of it, massively mattering to someone, presumably! Watch it all, all here, all the time, forever! It will never stop, for football is officially going on forever! It will never be finally decided who was won the football! There is still everything to play for, and FOREVER to play it in! So that’s the football, coming up, watch it, watch the football, watch it, watch it, it’s gonna MOOOVEE! Watch it, watch the football, it’s FOOTBALLLLLL!!!!!!!!” So there we have it. Football is back. The opening weekend bonanza has been and gone with players fresh from their 3 month layoff, play high intensity, slick, entertaining football while the nation laps up the matches in their garden in gorgeous June weather, giving it a feel of a World Cup summer all over again. Not quite- football isn’t really back until the people that define it are allowed back through the turnstiles, the weather, albeit soaring in the past week, was miserable during the first few games, the majority of English footballing faithful are still depressed that were not currently seeing Danny Ings win the Golden Boot on way to Euro 2020 glory on home soil, but crucially, the rust among Premier League sides was evident over the weekend. After consuming all of the weekend’s fixtures bar Brighton vs Arsenal at 3pm on Saturday, where I opted for the magic of Soccer Saturday instead covering the real best league in the world (the Championship), suffice to say that all sides in the Premier League will need a few more competitive fix-
tures to dust off the cobwebs. Not only this, but numerous sides have been bludgeoned by injuries- Arsenal racking up just the 4 medium to long term injuries in just over 100 minutes of football, and Liverpool suffering injuries to Joël Matip and James Milner vs Everton to name but a few.
artificial crowd noise which acts as a laughing track over the games is scarily accurate- adding to the sense, at least in my view, of this all being very dystopian. On the pitch, teams struggled to play with the same attacking verve that had defined so many of them before the restart. Wolves were largely impotent before the introduction of Adama Traoré against West Ham, Liverpool ‘s midfield intensity was less regular than usual, Manchester United’s speedy forward three of Rashford, Martial and Dan James didn’t have anywhere near the same explosive energy they showed in their final game before the lockdown against Manchester City, and Sheffield United failed to create the overloads in wide areas which have perplexed so many Premier League sides this season. Of course, this may merely be rustiness, but equally one may think it may be reluctance to play the game at their full pelt due to concern over injury, which, if true, would have major ramifications on Arsenal goalkeeper Bern Leno goes the Premier League product over the down to an ACL injury vs Brighton on next few weeks who pride, or at least Saturday market themselves on being the most
bonkers and entertaining league of all. It emerged that the Merseyside derby (can it be called a derby it there are no fans to revel in it?) on Sunday night was the most watched Premier League fixture in history, surpassing some 5 million viewers. The game was a continually dreary affair, suggesting that the only reason for this was due to the sheer novelty of having football back on live television – a novelty which will dwindle in the coming matchdays. If the Premier League is to maintain its viewership over the coming weeks, sides are going to have to get into the groove of things again, and fast. Even if this were to happen, will viewers continue to watch live games without the electrification provided by fans? This writer likely won’t, much as I love actively watching the tactical ide of the game, a facet largely unaffected by the absence of a crowd. The restart overcame the massive hurdle few expected it to overcome this early, yet it disregarded a bundle of minor one along the way.
The biggest hurdle of the restart was, fairly comfortably, overcome. The relentless coronavirus testing for plyers and staff, disinfecting pitches, disinfecting the subs bench, and limiting close contact, despite being confusing safety measures (no hand to hand contact yet everyone gets into a headlock while attacking and defending set pieces, really?), have workedone person out of a total of 1,541 players and staff has tested positive. The primary ‘purpose’ however of the restart however, to entertain, which has been the drum that so many politicians and fans alike have beaten when supporting the restart- may take time to enthuse the public again. Even though one can opt out of it, the
KC L ‘ B o x - a - t ho n ’ L an d s a B ig H it A l f i e Wi l s o n Sp or t E ditor
KCL Amateur Boxing Cub T he successfully completed a mo-
mentous ‘box-a-thon’ from 11 to 11, all in aid of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable trust as well as the Yemen Crisis Appeal. The day started with 3 and half hours on an introduction to boxing fundamentals and the first of the ‘Main Boxing training’ sessions, lasting for 2 hours, and was followed by a much needed 30 minute cooldown of stretching activities with all the techniques and tips. During the early evening, they moved onto perhaps some of the most enticing sessions by discussing and teaching the techniques of Boxing icons Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather, including the ‘Peek-a-boo’ technique of the former, whereby, like in the baby’s game of the same name, the two clenched hands covering the face are thought to offer extra protection to one’s own face
whilst providing a more comfortable base to jab at your opponent. The Mayweather session had the most views out of any of their sessions. These two lessons sandwiched a workout on boxer abs and another lesson on intermediate boxing combinations, which, according to head of the Society, Petr Borodavkin, had an absolutely unreal turnout, and, as Roar writer Akshat Chandel says, greatly improved technique but most importantly stamina after a long sedentary period for all of us during lockdown. However, the zenith of the 12 hour session certainly came toward the end, where not only did the general sessions advance to a higher level with advanced boxing combinations and an arms and shoulders workout (one of the more challenging of the day), but the penultimate boxing session before the Q&A showed techniques of none other than The Greatest,
Akshat Chandel Staf f Wr ite r
Muhammad Ali, and Petr was full of praise for Samir, who led the session. However, the premium boxing lessons on show weren’t even the greatest achievement of the day, and that wholeheartedly went to the monumental effort regrading donations. In the words of Petr, “We set a goal of 1000 pounds for both charities combined, and at first thought that it was too ambitious, but the people who supported us during the box-a-thon managed to prove us wrong and we now stand at £456 donated for the Stephen Lawrence Trust and £494 on the Yemen Appeal page, so with donations still coming through we’re really hoping to reach our goal in the coming days”. So, be sure to donate if you haven’t already to boost to their already colossal total- here for the Stephen Lawrence Trust and here for the Yemen Appeal.
All in all, the box-a-thon was a resounding success, providing not just great lessons and tips but providing for two brilliant causes.
‘ I hav e b e en p o s it i v e f o r C ov id - 1 9 ’ St o ry o f t h re e I t al i an s t u dent s w ho e x p e r ienc e d C ov id - 1 9 S o p h i a Me n c a r e l l i Staf f Wr ite r
Davide, Lorenzo, and Tommaso are three Italian university students who experienced Covid-19. This article gives voice to their story. How did it feel to be a student positive for the virus that brought the world to a halt? Let’s hear what they say. Davide’s story
Davide is an Italian University of Siena. physiotherapist and with coronavirus as
Lorenzo, a postgraduate student at the Polytechnic of Turin, is studying to become an engineer. Because of the number of cases in Northern Italy, his university was shut down some days before the official lockdown called by the Italian government.
Tommaso is an undergraduate student studying music in London. On 17th March he decided to leave the UK in order to quarantine together with his family. Four days after the beginning of the self-isolation imposed by the Italian government on those coming from foreign countries, he tested positive for the virus.
undergraduate student at the He is studying to become a describes being diagnosed ‘living in complete darkness’.
On 9th March 2020, the Italian government imposed a national quarantine that shutdown every university in the country. Despite other Italian universities set up online lessons straight after the lockdown via platforms such as Zoom and Big Blue Button, his faculty activated online classes only in April, almost a month after the total closure of universities. Despite numerous students like Davide asking the faculty asking for clarifications, no one from the university provided students with clear and precise instructions. During his illness, no support was put in place by the university. Davide experienced moderate to severe symptoms and had to quarantine for more than thirty days. While being too ill to attend online classes, his university refused to put other arrangements in place. In terms of examinations, Davide explains all his written exams have been transformed into oral examinations. He strongly believes this is a negative change, as all those written exams that originally followed a multiple-choice format have now become much more complex. No proper support such as safety-net policies has been established and no one among his teachers and university staff reassured him that his health condition would be taken under consideration when grading. Despite saying he studied hard, Davide worries Covid-19 has reduced his chances of being able to be a physiotherapist.
His experience is not that different from Davide’s. No official forms of support have been set up to help students overcome the anxiety coronavirus was creating. Even though teachers often told students not to worry, as the current ongoing situation would be taken under consideration, no support schemes or safety-net policies were put in place. Even though very needed, no extensions to deadlines were given to students and the lack of appropriate support from the university made his experience with the virus much more stressful. Unlike Davide, Lorenzo praised his university’s ability to provide online teaching straight after the general closure. As he explains, his classes have been promptly moved online and, one week after the university closure, all students were already able to access lessons and material. Even though no official support was put in place to help with exams, better organisation and communication meant he understood what life as a postgraduate during the pandemic would look like. He says this is the first step all universities should have taken to support their students and their academic career.
To the question ‘do you feel your university has supported you?’ Tommaso replies ‘my teachers and university staff always cared about my wellbeing’. His university, as he highlights, immediately set up online lessons, and as soon as the pandemic started, a group of therapists was assigned to support students facing difficulties. According to Tommaso, the promptness in the organisation, and the mental support offered by his university were key to alleviating some of his anxiety. Tommaso is studying to become a musician and he believes studying remotely strongly disadvantaged him. Not being on campus means he cannot use all the resources, services, and instruments required to learn. Even though not being in class has been disadvantageous, Tommaso believes his university has done quite a lot in order to assist him and the other students. As he explains, exam deadlines have been postponed for all the students and additional extensions have been given to students tested positive for Covid-19, if unable to meet deadlines. Tommaso experienced mild to moderate coronavirus symptoms and had to isolate for more than forty days. His faculty gave him the possibility not to attend classes if physically unable and this, according to him, was a great and essential form of support. Depending on the university you attend you may have had a drastically different experience as a student living through the pandemic. Covid-19 has turned the world completely upside down. According to the three Italian students Roar interviewed, the first question universities should ask is ‘Are we doing enough to support our students through this time?’.
L i v e s o f t he I nc arc e r at e d A n I nt e r v ie w w it h a US Pr i s o ne r I
n this first interview, Roar writer Laura Maxwell writes a Californian prisoner about his time behind bars during the Covid-19 pandemic and his broader view of the American prison system. When the country initially went into lockdown I, like everyone else, searched desperately for things to do whilst the minutes - minutes which felt like hours - ticked away. In this search, I stumbled upon writeaprisoner.com, which allows civilians to write to currently incarcerated felons in America in the hopes of receiving a response. When I first came across this site, I was hesitant, wondering exactly how it worked and weighing up the likelihood that I would actually receive a reply. The website asserts that its goal is to connect everyday people to those serving time in jail, providing a source of comfort, distraction, or maybe even friendship. Earlier this year, when the governmentsanctioned lockdown first commenced, I took the time to try and understand the hardships these people endure. While I could never draw neat comparisons between my life in lockdown and the experience of serving years on end in prison, for the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to feel helplessly closed in, apart from people I care about and senselessly counting down the days to an undetermined end. I understood that if I was struggling with being indoors, trapped in the same four walls and dull, empty lifestyle, then what these people experience must be unimaginable.
Over the last two months, I have written to a number of prisoners across the United States, asking them questions about their criminal charging, themselves as people, and what life in prison is like day-to-day, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. I have offered everyone I wrote to anonymity for this article - the gentleman whose conversation I am going to disclose today gave his approval for his true identity to be released. I would also like to note that it is impossible to verify the prisoner’s account, so I am taking purely at his word. I have, however, provided current statistics that are relevant concerning American prisons and their financial infrastructure. __________________________ Kevin Payne is a 36-year-old man currently serving time in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for attempted murder and robbery. How would you describe your time in prison thus far?
L aura Maxwell St af f Wr it e r
given rise to a for-profit prison system. lieve however that a great start would be to start with repurposing funds and What do you find yourself doing in your directing them towards truly rehaspare time? bilitating the inmates instead of building more prisons. Also, some laws KP: “…my free time mostly consists need to be changed because, in many of reading self-help books, law books, cases, the crime doesn’t fit the time.” psychology books, romantic comedies, as well as a good mystery novel. I work As of 2020, 25 states in Ameriout 5 days out of the week. I speak to ca still carry the death penalty. my family, they are my biggest supporters… I guess you can summarize Since the outbreak of COVID-19, my time as bettering myself mentally, how has your life in prison changed? physically, spiritually and emotionally.” KP: “Since the outbreak, we have been Do you believe prisons should place denied visits for the past four months. more emphasis on punishment or reha- Initially we weren’t allowed to wear bilitation? masks, only staff, so my friend and I went on a 17-day hunger strike demandKP: “…I believe prison should focus ing a mask. We also refused court unless on rehabilitation more so than punish- we were provided with a mask. Finally, ment. I believe this should be the case our governor made it mandatory for us specifically with violent offenders. Over to receive masks, thank God because I in America a child molester goes to a was getting hungry…We got write-ups mental health program and will be home and harassed for our demand of protecwithin two years but someone who robs tion during this Pandemic, just another a store, and no one is physically hurt instance of injustice and corruption in can get over twenty years in prison. The our system. So yea, things changed a system is really unbalanced, however, lot since the outbreak, not for the better rehabilitation is a personal journey, goal or worse, just change. They do the bare and objective… It’s something that must minimum to protect us. I should reword come from a personal desire to change that… they do the bare minimum to after realising and accepting ones faults.” protect themselves from being sued.”
KP: “Prison has its ups and downs, mostly downs. The question you ask is like asking a tiger that once thrived in the wild to describe his time being in a zoo… time here is horrible! There is so much systematic corruption within the prison system here. Con- Do you think there is room for imvicts are treated like cattle. Prisons are provement in the American jail system? one of the biggest “bread winners” or “money makers” for the United States.” KP: “Yes, there is always room for improvement in everything we do as As of 2019, the U.S prison system incar- humans because we are naturally imcerates approximately 2.3 million peo- perfect… Do I have the answers for ple. Its sheer number of prisoners has correcting those flaws? No… I do be-
How do you feel about yourself as a person in the present day? KP: “I’m not perfect, I never will be, but I do strive for and work towards becoming the best person that I can be…”
King's College student newspaper launches a special summer edition.