• Sweden edition
 

Lund responds to 'slave auction' with new course

Published: 07 May 2011 10:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 May 2011 10:10 GMT+02:00

In response to the recent ‘slave auction’ at a party at Lund University, top administration announced a new programme that will be initiated this fall to educate both students and staff about the university’s core values.

“The incident at Halland nation shows that there is a great ignorance about the values that should prevail at Lund University,” Lund University President Per Eriksson told Lundagård, Sweden’s oldest student newspaper.

The president is referring to the April 16th “jungle party” party organised by the student organisation Halland Nation, where three people with blackened faces and lynching ropes around their necks were led into the hall by a white "slave trader."

The university administration has come under intense fire for being too passive, with critics demanding the university take action against those responsible.

“We can only act within the framework of the Disciplinary Board, and for us to do something, it must have taken place on the university premises or in connection with education. It happens that (student) nations escape that,” said Eriksson.

In an attempt to prevent the occurance of similar incidents, officials will launch a new educational course regarding the university's core values.

The programme, with content yet to be finalised, will include representatives from both student nations and organisations as well as leaders of the school.

“We have not made the details clear, but it will not be a legal education. Instead, we will discuss the cultures that can be formed at the university and what problems may exist with them,” said Eriksson, who sees the incident as “an opportunity to clarify issues.”

“I do not think that the students who dressed up were evil, and with racist intentions. But what happened shows that there is great ignorance about racism and what can be offensive. If students had dressed up as Jews in concentration camps, people would have certainly reacted immediately.”

The party was attended by about 90 people and included the selling of the "slaves" during the course of the evening.

The incident further escalated after Jallow Momodou, the member of the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) who reported the two affiliated student associations, became subjected to racial slurs and posters featuring his face superimposed on the image of a naked man in chains.

The Malmö University student street artist and provocateur Dan Park, responsible for creating and posting the images of Momodou, has since been expelled from the school and is not permitted to live on campus property.

Park maintains his art was “great humor” meant to poke fun at people who were outraged by the event.

The school’s decision is temporary, pending the review by the University Disciplinary Committee.

The ‘tasteless joke,’ as it has been referred to, has gripped the attention of civil rights heavy weights around the globe.

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), based in Brussels, wrote an open letter to Sweden's Minister for Democracy and European Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson expressing its utter disgust and condemnation ‘without reservation’ to the actions, urging the Swedish government to take swift, disciplinary action.

Prominent American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson also recently wrote a letter to the Swedish Minister for Education Jan Björklund urging Sweden to question the perpetrators and take measures to ensure that Swedes are made aware of the brutal reality of the transatlantic slave trade and the part Sweden played in it.

Karen Holst (kholstmedia@gmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

11:01 May 7, 2011 by RobinHood
Will they offer a course to cover every dumbass thing their drunken, idiotic students get up to, or settle for just this one?
11:59 May 7, 2011 by otwa
What decision has Disciplinary Committee made about this ignorant people?

If I had an African root, I would those people.
12:37 May 7, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
It's a start.
13:20 May 7, 2011 by swedejane
"I do not think that the students who dressed up were evil, and with racist intentions."

Perhaps not evil, but most certainly racist. Anyway, it's a start but it would be more impressive to see them take the logical step of changing the rules so they do have some disciplinary authority over these so-called "student nations"...whatever that is.
13:31 May 7, 2011 by Scorch
Seriously? If it were white slaves with black slavetraders, no one would care.
14:53 May 7, 2011 by Antonito
Racism in Swedish Universities?,...yes....I know an Indian guy who openly refuses to sit beside Indians from lower casts...he is a student of a masters programme. We all know that things like that are happening everyday in many places in the world. Do we need educational programmes/courses? Of course...certainly not in Sweden for Swedish at least. I have seen less acts of racism here in Sweden than in my original country (I am a "black head" not Swedish guy) . I would rather start in Africa where black people with lighter skin discriminate others with a darker one. Slavery? Thousands of children in tha continent are kidnapped - raped - forced to work like animals. What about the African women traded (mainly by connationals) and forced to prostitution. ..those are just few examples of modern slavery...as real as the ones we had in the past. Does it hurt?.......Of course it hurts.....because it is true !.
22:55 May 7, 2011 by Flavius Belisarios
As a Swedish tax payer, am I contributing to the "new educational course regarding the university's core values"? I probably do, and I resent it. Why not just send the extortionist Jesse Jackson a big fat bribe instead? Through long experience, he and his organization surely have all the routines in place for a quick and discreet settlement?
00:17 May 8, 2011 by RitaPita
Doesn't seem a bit pointless to have a swedish person teaching this course?..

I'm just saying, they are not the most open people to publically talk about such issues, not to mention the level of denial when being questionned about it.
08:41 May 8, 2011 by Nemesis
From the 1930's to mid 70's, Sweden sterilised 63,000 people. Most of whom were minority Sami women. Having a Swede lecture on racism is like getting Adolf Hitler to lecture on anti-semitism, not a good idea.

As for the students themselves. Minority on minority racism is definately ignored and indirectly encouraged in Sweden. That applies in general soceity as well in Sweden.

Regarding the event that has caused the uproar. In a normal society, the students involved would be in serious trouble and possibly even expelled from the university. In Sweden it was ignored which does show that the authorities involved are so racist they can not even grasp the true extent of there own racism.
10:46 May 8, 2011 by Scorch
@Nemesis. They did nothing illegal. What would they be expelled for? Making Lund U look bad?
23:24 May 8, 2011 by LeoKinmann
@Scorch

Universities can expel students for cheating on exams or bad demeanor such as repeatedly interrupting classes, etc. Not all of the things you do in uni are supported by the constitution. If students get enrolled at an university, it counts as they agree to follow the school's code of conduct. And by breaking it, they sign their own death warrant to an academic life. So yes, Lund U has the right of expelling the students, or, perhaps as a softer punishment, ban them from classes for a few months like they to do the cheaters.
02:24 May 9, 2011 by wenddiver
@LeoKinman-- That's rediculous, to throw somebody out of a University for behaving ignorantly. It is all one way to, enforcing leftist twadle, tommorow the same University that throws out somebody for making fun of an ethnic group, will give out an Award for humiliating the King or President.

I see no point in throwing kids out of school for some silly leftist agenda like stopping excess drinking or not calling a minority group a minority group. When I was at LSU (Louisiana State University) they used to give out hundreds of hours of Brassoing the two brass Civil War cannons that General Sherman gave the School. Many a high spirited, young, Southern Gentleman learned not to be such a barbarian on those large Brass Tubes. I can't help but think that the firm, but fair policy helped many of the young Men.

Hold them Tigers, hold them Tigers!
15:19 May 9, 2011 by Grindsprint
@Nemesis LOL what an extraordinary display of intellectual meltdown!! You think there is any validity to citing some abscure statistics on sterilization and making up your own reasons why they were done, and then assert that it is sufficient for accusing the whole population of being racist?? You are beyond pathetic! :) All you do is complain about Sweden In EVERY way you can on here! You are not debating or commenting, you´re moping! Why all the bitterness? What is it that has gone so terribly wrong for you? I couldn´t imagine moving to another country just to sit and complain all day, but that´s what you do here. GET A LIFE!
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