“Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors,” lied the Telegraph through its ink-stained teeth on its front page today:
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) October 24, 2017
Accompanied by a huge picture of the person it was accusing, the Cambridge University Student Union’s women’s officer Lola Olufemi, the newspaper not only twisted the story beyond any recognition, but has also been accused of framing it so as to incite readers to troll the student – as we know, black women experience some of the worst online abuse.
Something v concerning about way Telegraph put only this young woman’s pic & not more complex story on front page. As if to incite trolling pic.twitter.com/iVdSykYod2
— Samira Ahmed (@SamiraAhmedUK) October 25, 2017
The Telegraph’s spin on this story – that “Cambridge University’s English Literature professors will be forced to replace white authors with black writers” due to pressure to “decolonise” the course – is way off.
What really happened is that Olufemi sent a petition, signed by over 150 people, to call for the curriculum to include “post-colonial” or “BME authors”, to avoid “perpetuating institutional racism”, as part of the university’s ongoing discussion about how it teaches postcolonial literature.
The newspaper’s moral panic – and not so moral twisting of the facts – drew derision online.
**BREAKING NEWS* brought to you from @Telegraph. Women of colour have taken over Cambridge University, I am now Supreme Vice Chancellor, @CUSUWO Student Dictator, all white men have been locked up pending execution, and students will ONLY STUDY BLACK WRITERS. Resistance is futile
— Priyamvada Gopal (@PriyamvadaGopal) October 25, 2017
And Cambridge University released a statement criticising its article, saying that no authors are “dropped” under its system of teaching, and condemning “the related harassment directed towards our students on social media as a result of the recent coverage”:
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) October 25, 2017