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KCLSU President Provokes Controversy

Sep 05 2008 10:54
The Dark Knight
King's President Chris Mullan has attracted press coverage following claims of racism at an NUS training event.
He was bound to get in trouble eventually...

The President of KCLSU and occasional Live! contributor Chris Mullan has got himself into hot water, following claims of racism at an NUS training event at the end of August. The NUS Black Students Officer originally posted the allegations on Facebook, but her message was widely reprinted on student 'activist' websites.

Mullan, who is known throughout the 'student movement' for speaking his mind, is alleged to have questioned whether recruiting black students from deprived neighbourhoods was a good idea, given that problems with knife and gun crime might attract 'undesirables'. Live! understands that this is only part of the story, taken out of context, but the KCLSU President is currently unable to comment due to an apparent police investigation.

The Daily Mail and thelondonpaper reported that Mullan - along with an officer from Nottingham who allegedly held up a 'bring back slavery' sign - is under investigation for 'race-hate' offences due to these allegations, although Live! has so far been unable to confirm this nor determine how it constitutes 'race hate'.

A number of people have described the current situation as a 'witch-hunt', with allegations flying around the blogosphere and Facebook at high speed. The exact words and context, as with any political scandal, appear to be in dispute and Mullan has very few friends inside the NUS who would support him due to his often belligerent nature. Consequently what exactly happened may never be widely known.

Earlier in the year there were also allegations of racism at the top level of the NUS, after Vice President (Welfare) Ama Uzowuru was apparently told by NUS Treasurer Dave Lewis that her name was not 'mainstream' enough to appear on NUS Extra publicity, whilst having a private conversation in a car on the way to an event. On her NUS blog, Uzowuru also accused other NUS officers of racism for not challenging the statement as they were present at the time. It was later resolved following an apology and blog post by Dave Lewis, but Uzowuru also came under fire for complaining via her blog, rather than using internal disciplinary processes.

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Discussion about “KCLSU President Provokes Controversy”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Sep 05 2008 11:15

In your second paragraph you've written "live! understands this is only part of the story taken out of context". Can I just make it clear that that whole sentence "questioned whether recruiting black students from deprived neighbourhoods was a good idea, given that problems with knife and gun crime might attract" is all fabricated by these silly student forums and now the press. This is the context they have created for the word "undesirables".

Sep 05 2008 12:52

Indeed, I believe the so called 'undesirables' was in fact referring to members of the public in areas or high knife and gun crime. These 'undesirables' could pose a threat to members of the fictional university, if security on campus was inefficient! Chris Mullan was merely pointing out that in an area of high knife and gun crime funding should be allocated for the security of the students. This is far from being racist, rather, having the welfare of the members of the fictional university at heart.

Sep 06 2008 00:27

stop using so many inverted commas and words like apparently when they are not necessary. it gets really boring.

also, holding a sign saying 'Bring back slavery' obviously constitutes race hatred. F**king idiots.

Sep 06 2008 03:12

Damm it's late

Sep 06 2008 09:53

"holding a sign saying 'Bring back slavery' obviously constitutes race hatred"

No it doesn't. It may constitute racism, but it certainly isn't racial hatred. Even if what Chris Mullan said was not misquoted or taken out of the context, that would not be racial hatred either. Despite the best attempts of the government, we haven't introduced the thought police yet and holding racist views is not illegal. Encouraging people to beat up black students would be worthy of a police investigation, neither of the alleged incidents here are.

Sep 06 2008 11:35

One could argue that "Bring Back Slavery" is race hatred as it advocates forced labour, alongside the capture and imprisonment of an entire race.

I think that might be considered illegal in some wishy-washy liberal circles.

7. Anon   
Sep 06 2008 18:35

That assumes that he intended slavery solely for a single race. Who knows? Maybe he thinks all should be enslaved?

And "please": inverted commas and "apparently" are necessary because this article is reporting on second-hand information without full clarity on a matter under police investigation. Anything else could get you done under Contempt of Court.

Sep 06 2008 21:11

in this article the inverted commas around the words - activist, witch-hunt, undesirables, race hate and student movement are unnecessary and the absence of said inverted commas could not 'get you done under Contempt of Court'. They are just irritating.

it's hilarious to see an engineer try to show that racism and racial hatred are mutually exclusive.

9. Anon   
Sep 06 2008 21:23

Alright, the inverted commas are there to denote that they are the words of others. That's just proper grammar. That you find it irritating is neither here nor there; it is correct.

The use of allegedly/apparently however are required to provide legal protection.

And I think we can assume that engineer is referring to "racial hatred" as a shorthand for the offence of "inciting racial hatred", a crime dependent on, but not synonymous with, racism. He did not say the two were mutually exclusive.

Sep 07 2008 11:33

I love the fact that finally the new editor has written something worth reading, and yet all thats discussed in the discussion is her use of grammer!

Sep 07 2008 12:43

Anon - you are correct. Should people be investigated by the police for making racist comments? If they are trying to incite others to commit crimes against someone based on their race, then yes, they should. However, if they aren't, then people are entitled to their views, no matter how socially unacceptable.

Sep 07 2008 14:49

the subject of the article is interesting but no, the article is not worth reading

13. Editor   
Sep 08 2008 09:54

A lot of assumptions are made about the identity of contributers writing under a psuedonym. It is interesting that you assume that only the editor can write articles. I must however disappoint you on this occaision as this is not my version of this article. Someone else submitted an article on the same subject that I was writing and I favoured the alternative contributer over myself. I'm sure you can appreciate the irony.

14. Import   
Sep 08 2008 11:08

Can I just point out that Bring Back Slavery is as offensive to me as Bring Back the Holocaust. I really sorry to break this little party up editor but I wish to point out to those commenting that slavery has huge baggage: the rapes, the torture and the murders (all of which this country has yet to accept). It is not a joking matter. It does offend people and yes many black officers within the NUS would find it offensive. Many people died, these people don?t require further humiliation at the hand of a bunch of public school boys.

To Engineer ? racism and racial hatred are one in the same once you have dealt with it personally. I personally believe you should only comment after you have walked down the street and had someone abuse you based on the colour of you skin.

To Anon ? your right it may advocate slavery for all but if you have any level of common sense you will understand that some people will feel that the comment is more directed towards them.

With respect I could argue with you all day, I have no intention of stoking racial tensions at imperial but I was annoyed because we are meant to be the future leaders of the world and we can?t seem to show an ounce of empathy.

I am truly disappointed.

15. Anon   
Sep 08 2008 11:19

"racism and racial hatred are one in the same once you have dealt with it personally".

No they're not. And I say that as someone who has dealt with it personally.

We have established that in terms of reference for this article and its discussion, "racial hatred" refers to the criminal act of "inciting racial hatred". The operative word there is "inciting". The possession of unpleasant views is not a crime, nor should it be. Incitement, regardless of where you stand on the issue however, is a crime under English law. The question is not whether or not he held a racist view, but whether or not his actions (and the law deals with the act, not the thought) constituted a bona-fide incitement to racial hatred.

Moreover, this is more a case of insensitivity. I very much doubt that his intention was to seriously advocate the restoration of slavery or persuade others to join some mass-movement to reinstitute slavery. Crass, insensitive, offensive yes. But was it really worth calling in the police where a few words with the person concerned might have had more effect?

And Chris Mullan isn't a public schoolboy either.

16. import   
Sep 08 2008 11:25

Anon your talking c**p. If you want to have it out meet me in the guilds office in 20 mins.

17. import   
Sep 08 2008 11:26

By the way I wasn?t talking about Chris Mullan.

Sep 08 2008 15:10

Writing under pseudonyms is so boring and childish and it seems as if more than every other article on this place is written under some ridiculous little name.

Sep 08 2008 15:11

"racism and racial hatred are one in the same once you have dealt with it personally"

If that was true, given we're talking about 'inciting racial hatred' in the legal sense, it would mean that the law would magically change its definition if the victim had previously received abuse because of the colour of their skin. It doesn't work like that. Before you rant about it in reply, please settle down and allow the context to sink into your brain, before engaging your hands with the keyboard.

Craig Cox, who is alleged to have held up the sign, would be - if it is true - a complete pillock, unfit to be a student officer and in dire need of some education about the horrors of slavery. That doesn't warrant a police investigation unless someone has evidence of him doing something more than being a pillock. It may well be more offensive if you have experienced racism, but offending people is not a crime. This is not to say I have no empathy with the people in the room who found it offensive, I just don't believe the police should be wasting their time investigating something which could be far more sensibly dealt with by the disciplinary procedures already in place.

Chris Mullan on the other hand appears not to have said anything that should even be considered racist. I think most people would agree that people carrying guns and knives are "undesirables" and in areas of high gun and knife crime you should look at funding to keep guns and knifes out. That's all he seems to have said, yet some over-sensitive people, including the Black Students Officer, seem to have decided:

1) he was referring to black students (yes, current gun and knife crimes do seem to be young black men killing each other, but there are many other cases)

2) he was saying that all black students were undesirables because they all carry guns and knives

3) that the extra money would be for the protection of the white people in colleges in these deprived areas, to keep the safe from the black students who were all carrying knives and guns

Where as what actually seems to have happened is:

1) it was a hypothetical area with high poverty and high crime (like those which seem to experience high gun and knife crime)

2) he was saying that some people in this area might carry guns and knives

3) he thought funding should be provided to protect those people who wanted to study from those carrying guns and knives

The first set of points is manufactured by someone with their own axe to grind, the second is probably closer to what happened.

20. Anon   
Sep 08 2008 17:22

"Anon your talking c**p. If you want to have it out meet me in the guilds office in 20 mins."

What a well-thought-out rebuttal that was. I guess I shall have to take my reasoned argument elsewhere as we all know that threats of violence are vastly superior to considered points of view.

I am sure that your comments however are as much bluster as your previous statement that you could "argue all day", as you have just demonstrated that you are unable to with that stupid remark.

Sep 08 2008 18:30

i completely agree. Live! would be much more professional and credible if real names were used.

22. Anon   
Sep 08 2008 19:14

Why? So people can engage in ad-hominem attacks?

Was Orwell boring and childish?

23. busted   
Sep 08 2008 22:22

Yeah but then they'd see that matthews was writing nearly all the articles and he could get into trouble as a medling staff member ;)

Sep 08 2008 22:28

And if they could see that they would be very much mistaken...

25. Anon   
Sep 08 2008 23:19

The very fact that some berk decided to resort to threats of violence on this discussion provides all the reason one needs for anonymous and pseudonymous contribution. It is one of the surest protections against intimidation that exists.

Sep 09 2008 01:49

How boring

27. import   
Sep 09 2008 15:39

Anon - I have to say I didn't say anything about violence. I just wanted speak to you face to face.

Also, I am hardly the invisible man.

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