Yorfess, the popular York-based anonymous confessions page, has published a number of racist comments about Chinese students in the wake of the UK’s case of coronavirus being discovered in York.
The platform, which has twice been shut down for controversial posts, published an anonymous ‘confession’ which suggested that the University and YUSU were happy to “twiddle their thumbs” and “let the Chinese swarm over here and kill us”.
This appalling comment was listed in the wake of the revelation that one of the UK’s cases was a York student and a family member.
This was the worst of a slew of comments which ranged from suggestions that there was no risk to students because Asian student were “cliquey and unwilling to integrate” and expressions at fear of sharing cutlery with international student housemates.
This latest controversy is likely to again facilitate calls for the Facebook page to be shut down for a third time as the admins come under fire for allowing the dogwhistle racism to be published.
Though this page is alleged to be under different management than the original page, this is unsubstantiated. Claims have been made that the original Yorfess admins run similar but unrelated page Yorfess III.
The statements given by York’s Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery to the press seem to address the potential for retribution against international students.
Professor Jeffery said: “let me say also that the University of York is very much an international community. We are home to students and staff from more than 140 countries.
“We are enormously proud that we are part of the city, and of the warm welcome given to all of our community by the city. At times like this we all – staff, students, and friends across the city – pull together and support one another.”
YUSU’s Steph Hayle added: “Xenophobia and racism as expressed in these posts, has no place in York or wider society and falls far below the standards we would expect from members of our community. We have referred these screenshots to the University’s Equality and Diversity department, who will then decide how best to proceed with the platform administrators in line with the University’s disciplinary process.
“We encourage any students impacted by these comments to seek support from either YUSUs Advice and Support Centre or the Student Hub, and report any problematic behaviour via the University’s Student Misconduct Reporting System.”
The original version of this article included an image from a Yorfess page unrelated to the page which posted the racist comments. The author was made aware of this minutes after publication by a representative of the page pointed out the potential for the picture to mislead. We have since added a screenshot of the post for the avoidance of doubt. The page involved is not ”Yorfess III”.