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"We acknowledge that action should have been taken sooner"

Updated: Mar 28

AUSA criticised for lack of action towards discrimination complaints


By Mireia Jimenez

Photo courtesy of the AUBC protesters


On 17 November 2021, students submitted a formal complaint to AUSA against the Aberdeen University Basketball Club (AUBC) regarding long-term episodes of discrimination.


Three months after the complaint was submitted, the victims and complainant members did not receive any type of response from AUSA or the club’s committee.


The issue was brought to The Gaudie's attention on 16 February, when one of the complainants stated:


“We don’t know if AUSA contacted AUBC regarding the complaint, but the club’s president has never approached us to talk about it. Not even after our public statement.”

The club’s public statement was shared on the Instagram page of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students’ Forum (BAME), where they highlighted “Students playing at the Club have questioned the exclusionary practices that have dominated the Club’s culture for years and are now publicly demanding a change.”


The complaint reports discrimination against people of different sizes, neglect of the practice of non-competitive basketball, monopolisation of club decisions, social events exclusively focused on alcohol consumption and divided according to binary gender identities.


The BAME forum’s public complaint added: “We have begun discussions with University staff members to advocate for the need for specialised support systems who are trained to understand the complexities of racial abuse within academia and student support staff members who come from ethnic minority backgrounds themselves.”


Adam Lambert, AUSA’s VP for Sports told The Gaudie: “AUSA is currently having productive conversations with members of the club and committee members of the basketball club to work towards a positive way forward following the allegations.


“We acknowledge that action should have been taken sooner to help resolve the issue. We will be reviewing internal complaints and reporting procedures as a priority.”

One of the AUBC complainants said: “AUSA needs to revise their complaint procedure. Replying to a complaint about discrimination shouldn't take three months without checking how the victims are and without offering any type of accompaniment during this time.”


A protest also took place in Aberdeen Sports Village on the same day the complaint was processed, where protesting students stated: “If any of your teammates or classmates are suffering discrimination, stand up for them. Let’s not perpetuate injustice by keeping quiet.”


On 22 February the University of Aberdeen held an open session on Inclusion “Aberdeen 2040: Vision as an anti-racist university” where they acknowledged the need for “clearer reporting structures (...), followed up with appropriate support”, understanding of microaggressions and the need to address lack of racial diversity on senior levels.