Lund responds to ‘slave auction’ with new course

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.

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Breastmilk drug could fight resistant bacteria

Swedish researchers may have found a solution to the growing resistance to antibiotics in the most unlikely of places — breastmilk.

Breastmilk drug could fight resistant bacteria
A team led by Professor Anders Håkansson at Lund University’s Department of Translational Medicine have identified a protein in human breast milk that seems to make previously resistant bacteria once again vulnerable to antibiotics. 
Håkansson established that the wonder molecule Hamlet (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells) could be used against cancer tumors and bacteria when he was still a graduate student twenty years ago.
“But what’s more interesting is that Hamlet makes some bacteria more sensitive to antibiotics,” he told Sweden’s TT newswire. “So far it seems that all bacteria can be made sensitive to antibiotics through Hamlet.” 
He hopes that the substance could signal the end to the constant race to develop new antibiotics as bacteria develop resistance to the old ones, saving lives. 
Håkansson's team is now testing the new drug on animals, and hopes to run the first trials on human patients within one or two years, beginning with patients suffering chronic resistant infections. 
“There are children with cystic fibrosis who often die of lung infections, and many of them have strains that are so resistant that we run out of alternative medicines. If we could use hamlet, it could make both doctors and patients very happy.” 
The new Department of Translational Medicine, launched on 1st January 2015, brings together Lund’s old Department of Laboratory Medicine with ten new research groups.