The Harassment of Women in KCLSU Elections

There is a deeply sombre note in the breaking of this news not only during Women’s History Month but International Women’s Day and yet, today could not be more appropriate of a moment in sharing exactly why we all continue to fight the good fight.

Although, KCLSU have actively attempted to engage with the women identifying cohort during this year’s Spring Elections amid the success of the #SheShouldRun campaign resulting in an increase in running women candidates to 63%. While we await the results of the Elections to be published later tonight as to hopefully see further fruition of #SheShouldRun, there is a darker and more pressing matter that needs to be addressed by KCLSU and its President.  

Earlier today, KCL’s Intersectional Feminist Society issued a Call to Action concerning the vicious campaign tactics employed by various candidates running in the recent elections. In their statement they wrote:

‘On International Women’s Day, it is our duty to voice our concerns regarding the worrying accounts of harassment of women and non-binary students on campus that have been associated with the KCLSU elections.

There have been widespread concerns about the conduct of numerous candidates in this year’s elections. The candidates in question have undermined the principles of democracy that our Students’ Union should be built on by employing tactics of intimidation that have been targeted at women, with a specific focus on women of colour.

If KCLSU truly stands by the principles of liberation, democracy and equality, it is vital that the safety of students remains central to its practice. Particularly as candidates who are campaigning to represent the student body, it is essential that those in question be held accountable for exploiting the vulnerability of marginalised students. Such misconduct seriously restricts the democratic nature of the KCLSU but also cultivates an environment of fear on campus. We expect that KCLSU will seriously take into consideration accounts of harassment before the release of election results, and that there will be an explicit condemnation of these actions in the coming days.’  

Whispers of this type of dirty politics have echoed along the halls of King’s before, but generally dismissed on the basis of a lack of hard evidence, but this round of allegations follow a series of formal complaints that have been filed concerning the invasive and intimidating approaches of these candidates. It has also been reported that candidates snatched phones out of women and non-binary students’ hands to ‘vote’ for them – an action that is clearly stated as against the campaigning code of conduct - as well as making wildly inappropriate comments towards them. Other techniques include harassing women students to vote by invading their personal space until they vote and specifically targeting female international students into voting for them during the past week.

Not only is this behaviour grossly misogynistic but it is clearly vying on to being racially charged too - and we cannot let it stand. We cannot allow individuals who manipulate marginalised students to gain a seat of power and influence on campus. Not only would this reward the lack of decorum and honesty in this type of intimidation campaigning but also begin to demonstrate the concerning loss of the importance of merit, equality and fairness in KCLSU politics.

Here at KCL Her Campus, we believe that every person should be in an environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment or intimidation regardless of gender identity, sexuality or race. This is an issue that affects all of us at King’s as the very misconduct of these candidates threatens our democracy, liberty and the core values of equality and justice we believe in. Please join us in this Call to Action by signing the statement here and emailing formal complaints to [email protected] and [email protected] by using this supplied email template.

 

We do not give in to intimidation tactics and cheap dirty politics. We take a stand in solidarity. And we urge the Student Union and KCLSU President Ahad to seriously take into consideration the gravity of the situation at hand and this Call to Action.