Durham University students slam calls to attend ‘anti-racism training’ after Rod Liddle row

Students have branded the training, which is aimed at “ensuring a safer community for people of colour”, as “anti-white indoctrination”

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Durham University students have criticised a scheme which urges students to attend “anti-racism training”.

Students have branded the training, which is aimed at “ensuring a safer community for people of colour”, as “anti-white indoctrination”, with some refusing to attend.

Those from the university’s John Snow College were informed of the training by email.

The email said it was “mandatory” to attend the talks, which would be run by student body, the Durham’s People of Colour Association (DPOCA).

Durham University
Durham University

But the university has since clarified its stance by saying it was at the “discretion of individuals” whether to attend or not and that it was “not a University of College initiative”.

The scheme has been met by backlash from some students, including Samantha Smith.

Ms Smith took to Twitter to say: “As a mixed race student, I refuse to take part in this anti-white indoctrination”.

Other students described the training as “divisive” and that “students should be revising for exams instead”.

Student protested against a speech made by journalist Rod Liddle
Student protested against a speech made by journalist Rod Liddle

A spokesperson for the DPOCA explained why the training was scheduled.

It said: “The intention of the workshop is to create a more inclusive, not divisive, culture on campus.”

While a Durham University spokesman added: 'The provision of this training was not a University or College initiative, but was taken by the student-led JCR at John Snow College.

“The training is delivered by DPOCA, an association of Durham Students' Union.

“Anti-racism training can help to create a more respectful environment, but attendance is at the discretion of individual students.”

This comes after controversial journalist Rod Liddle was invited to speak at the university’s South College, with students protesting against his invitation as they claimed he was “racist”.

While some walked out midway through Mr Liddle's speech, others failed to stand at the end.

Among the remarks made during Mr Liddle's speech included: "It is fairly easily proven that colonialism is not remotely the major cause of Africa's problems, just as it is very easy to prove that the educational underachievement of British people of Caribbean descent or African Americans is nothing to do with institutional or structural racism.”