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Stirling Uni footballers facing punishment after ‘blacking up’ controversy

ByJoshua Stein

Feb 18, 2015

Students at Stirling University have been accused of racism on a social evening celebrating the Africa Cup of Nations.

Students from the University’s football team, which plays in the Scottish Lowland League, were seen ´blacking up´ on the streets of Stirling and issuing threats to any passers by who condemned their behaviour.

The university has issued a ban to four football teams, saying in a statement: “The University treats issues relating to racism with the utmost seriousness and will respond robustly to any behaviours that do not meet with our values and expectations.”

“We are disappointed that the actions of a few are tarnishing the reputation of the University of Stirling, and we wish to reassure students that a full investigation is under way and disciplinary action will be taken against any student found to have engaged in racist behaviour.”

Comments made by passers-by to the Daily Mail criticised the negative coverage surrounding the footballers, with student Daniel Shields saying that “to insinuate that the football club, one of the most inclusive sports clubs at the university is racist in any way is a farce and a lie”. “I assume every time anyone dresses up as a non-white individual at Halloween, socials etc there will be similar articles. Will that include the Hulk, Smurfs and characters for the Simpsons too?”

A video taken by a passer by shows the students drinking and threatening people who were challenging their actions.

Speaking to The Student in response to the event, Eve Livingston, Vice President for Societies and Activities at the Edinburgh University Students´ Association (EUSA), said: “Costumes which ridicule or appropriate other cultures or ethnicities are a form of racism, and one which we take seriously.

She also stressed that the University of Edinburgh responded to events such as these. “For that reason we ran a dedicated campaign last Halloween which was very positively received by students, and we continue to work with our BME liberation group on issues of racism and cultural appropriation affecting our members”.

A spokesperson from the charity Show Racism the Red Card, which attempts to deal with racism problems in football, said: “The practice of blacking up was usually part of a show by white entertainers for white audiences which relied on mocking black people’s skin colour and culture.

“The practice is racist and should definitely be avoided in our more enlightened times.”

Last year members of the Edinburgh University Law Society were pictured ´blacking up´ for a social as Somali pirates. The four students were attending a social entitled ‘All Around the World’ and were criticised by members of other societies as they were let into the Hive Club on Niddry Street.

The four students were attending a social entitled ‘All Around the World’ and were condoned by members of other societies as they were let into the Hive Club.

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