We understand the investigation into the recent racism allegations involving Mayflower FC has caused a significant amount of anger among the student community. There has been some criticism about SUSU’s perceived lack of action and we wanted to respond to the call for further information.

The investigation was conducted by the University, not SUSU. This meant that we were not privy to information during the ongoing investigation and therefore were unable to provide comment. After the conclusion of the investigation, we were made aware of some information but were unable to share this with the wider student body due to confidentiality and the safety of some people involved. However, we recognise that our communication could have been better at the beginning of this incident to make it clear it was being handled by the University and to explain their processes as much as we were able.

Once the outcome was released via SUSSED by the University, we invited our BAME Officer to lead a public student response with our support. We also invited several students who had expressed concerns directly to us to come in so we could listen to their views and discuss how we could support them. Whilst they were keen to engage, due to the Christmas break and the exam season this needed to be postponed.

In the meantime, we have been responding and working internally with the University on this. We called for a review of the investigation process and formally raised concerns with the University Council, the highest governing body at the University. Since then, a review has been started by the University which we have been very involved in. We have also reached out to the students who had expressed concerns to invite them to feed into this review. 

Last week, we met with our BAME Officer to discuss how they would like to respond to this incident. As a result, we have facilitated a meeting between them and the University executive involved in the process and agreed to support a statement made by them to continue a conversation about everyday racism.

Regardless of whether there was any racist language used, we believe the behaviour shown in the video was not acceptable. At SUSU we continue to work with our clubs and societies on eliminating hazing and initiation culture. This year we have released compulsory Welfare, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (WIDE) training for all our clubs and societies. We have also launched our new Expect Respect policy which sets out our expectations of behaviour.

If anyone experiences any incidents of harassment you can report this through our anonymous Report and Support tool here: SUSU Report and Support Tool

We recognise that the absence of a public statement on the incident and outcome had led to the perception that SUSU is not doing anything about this. However, we would like to assure you that we have made every effort to engage with students on an individual level and have taken action through appropriate channels with the University.

If anyone has any concerns or would like to discuss this any further, please get in touch with me via president@susu.org

Emily Harrison, on behalf of University of Southampton Students’ Union (SUSU)

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