In an interview with URY yesterday, Patrick O’Donnell, YUSU’s President-elect, condemned racist posts made by anonymous confession pages, but did not specify how he would deal with them.
On URY’s Newshour on Wednesday evening, O’Donnell was asked about a letter written by YUSU’s BAME Officers, Fiks Aderemi and Simi Odukoya, which urged the University of York to “condemn” anonymous confessions pages and “see these pages held accountable” for posting racist and insensitive comments which they say have hurt the black community.
He told hosts Beth Hardisty and Matt Ward-Perkins, “I don’t know how many Yorfesses there are now. There seems to be one popping up and one shutting down every other week. There’s a lot of frankly racist stuff on there; there’s a lot of discriminatory rhetoric on there which we need to stamp out as a university community, and have a conversation about”.
When asked whether YUSU should take a stance on the posts made by anonymous confession pages, O’Donnell said “There are a few comments being let through by admins which do not reflect the values of our university. Condemning it is one thing, it’s a no brainer… But what do we do in response? I’m more than happy to sit down with whoever those admins are… as part of a broader conversation that we need to have about the use of language and how it can be interpreted”
URY asked whether the admins of anonymous confessions pages should face disciplinary action from the University for posting “hate speech”. O’Donnell said that “If someone is using the name Yorfess and if they’re repeatedly failing to stop incidents of hate speech, which we can all agree have been used on occasion, then by all means. If a student was saying that in the street, they’d be asked to leave the University”
“Before we start forcing people to do things, we need to have a conversation. Come and talk to us. We are more than happy to talk to you about what we can do to stamp this out”