Oxford students and academics support Jason Osamede Okundaye

Students and academics from the University of Oxford have rallied together from across disciplines, colleges and departments to sign an open letter in a show of solidarity with Jason Osamede Okundaye, a Cambridge University student.

If you are a student or academic at Oxford, and want to show Jason your support, fill out the google form here.

Read the letter below:

On 29 July 2017, a 20 year-old student at the University of Cambridge, Jason Osamede Okundaye, posted a series of tweets about endemic white racism in the United Kingdom. Jason is the President of the Black and Ethnic Minority Campaign at the University of Cambridge.

Providing context to his tweets, Jason explained:
“The tweet was conflated with my separate tweets which supported the Dalston protests and my support of activism which seeks justice against police brutality.”

These tweets have been met with a hostile response from media outlets such as The Telegraph and The Daily Mail . Furthermore, the police began an investigation, before stating We do not believe that there is a realistic proposition of a conviction for any offence. Any investigation is now in the hands of the university ”. Jason’s College at Cambridge, Pembroke, – his primary source of pastoral support – has said: “The College is looking into this matter and will respond appropriately.”

Media misconstrual and marginalisation of the work of student activists in the United Kingdom is nothing new. At our institution, the University of Oxford, students such as Ntokozo Qwabe – one of the organising members of Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford – faced repeated harassment and hostility over the course of 2015-2016.

We, as students and academics at the University of Oxford, join those expressing solidarity with Jason, and encourage others to do the same. We have seen the way that student anti-racist activist work has been treated in the past. That treatment and the coverage of Jason’s tweets are reminders of the anti-blackness and institutional racism that endures in this country, too often left uninterrogated within institutions of learning including Oxford and Cambridge.

How are marginalised students to address racism if they are prevented from publicly identifying it? The right to freedom of speech ought to extend to all members of the academic community, not just a privileged few. We encourage the British public to speak out on Jason’s behalf: this is a moment to reflect on the advantages conferred on white people in the United Kingdom, the ongoing legacies of colonisation, and the ways that anti-black racism persist.

We call on Pembroke College, Cambridge, to offer its support to Jason. We call on The Telegraph and the Daily Mail to issue an apology to Jason.

We stand with Jason.

Signed,

 

Campaigns 

Members of Common Ground Oxford

Members of Rhodes Must Fall Oxford

Members of RISE Oxford

 

Students and Academics

Alex Jacobs

Alice Irving

Alice Townson

Amia Srinivasan

Anastasya Larasati

Andrew Dean

Annie Hayter

Ayomide Thomas

Beth Davies-Kumadiro

Blue Weiss

Brita Kvalsvik

Cameron Alexander

Cameron Spain

Carol Que

Charlotte Haley

Charlotte Quinney

Daisy Cockrean

Daisy Porter

Dalia Gebrial

Daniel Iley-Williamson

Dina Khadum

Ebubechi Okpalugo

Elena Casale

Elizabeth Paskin

Elizabeth Yuill

Edward Tolmie

Ella Sackville Adjei

Ella Taylor-Fagan

Fabian Fatodu

Frances Whorrall-Campbell

Gazelle Mba

Grace Barrington

Georgina Ramsay

Giles Chambers

Hannah Cribben

Hilal Yazan

Hope Oloye

Isabella Cullen

Jack Cooper

Jacob Omorodion

Jaycie Carter

Jazza McMillan-Clenaghan

Jeremy Bosatta

Jessyca Hutchens

Joel Baxter

John Livesey

Josephine Bailey

Karan Katoch

Karma Nabulsi

Kate Tunstall

Kiran Hussain

Kirsten Rowe

Kurein Parel

Kwaku Abrefabusia

Laura Chapman

Lilith Newton

Liora Lazarus

Magdalena Goralska

Marek Sullivan

Marral Shamshiri-Fard

Max Harris

Megan Knock

Mia Liyanage

Michael Burns

Michael Sackur

Miina Hiillovskivi

Mobeen Salih

Molly Moore

Mouki Kambouroglu

Myah Popat

Natalie Nzeyimana

Naomi Packer

Ndjodi Ndeunyema

Neha Shah

Niloo Sharifi

Nomfundo Ramalekana

Noon Altijani

Paige Woods

Peggy Reeder

Penelope Ehrhardt

Philippa Lawford

Princess Ashilokun

Rebecca Buxton

Richard Compton

Robert Fraser

Rosie Crawford

Rufus Rock

Sanya Samtani

Sara El-Solh

Sara Yassi

Saskia Thomas

Simran Uppal

Simukai Chigudu

Shreya Lakhani

Sudhir Hazareesingh

Sunya Aslam

Taiwo Oyebola

Tash Jones

Temitope Ajileye

Tobi Olaitan

Tobi Thomas

Trim Lamba

Vuyane Mhlomi

Wes Williams

Will Andrews

Yashwina Canter

Zara Baker

Zara Markovic-Obiago

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