Representatives from the African & Caribbean and Pan-African societies criticised Queen Mary Students’ Union representatives over their lack of support and funding for Black History Month at October’s Student Council meeting.
Students’ Union President Ahmed Mahbub and VP Welfare Ella Harvey apologised for the fact the liberation groups who were tasked with running activities for BHM were not offered enough support.
Society leaders explained that they require more funding to run events in October than they do for the rest of the year however due to the way that the Students’ Union funding is allocated to societies, they are disadvantaged.
However, a representative for the Students’ Union explained that in the funding application for Black History Month, the amount asked for by the organisers was only £20. They went on to say ACS also had a substantial amount of money in their subs account.
The Students’ Union started officially celebrating Black History Month last year. However, one council member exclaimed, “It’s all fine to say we’re going to facilitate BHM, but we need support!”
There had been issues with room bookings – one Council member explained how a Blomeley room was booked for a BHM event. Posters were printed detailing where the event would take place, and then the room was changed at last minute because it had
apparently been double booked.
Furthermore, the reallocated room was unavailable so they used the original Blomeley room which was, in fact, vacant.
Alongside this, some other advertised BHM events had to be cancelled as the Students’ Union told committee members they could not run them.
Harvey responded to the complaints, “There’s been a breakdown of trust between black students and the Students’ Union. I didn’t realise the disadvantage of funding in October. Black History Month now has a team, so it will always happen. However, I’m happy to work with students on getting a motion through Council to further legitimise the month.”
Mahbub added, “There has been a huge breakdown in communication. This shows that we’re not where we should be…”
With the societies working on Black History Month, Harvey promised to back any events; “I’ll make sure there’s a member of staff assigned, if that helps.”