Hofstetter drew attention to the poignance of the location, which is close to the Cambridge Union, where James Baldwin made his influential speech on racism in 1965George Hofstetter / Lotte Brundle for Varsity

An American tech entrepreneur was racially abused at a summer course formal dinner at Hughes Hall this month (15/07).

George Hofstetter, an innovation fellow at Stanford University d.school and founder of GHTech, challenged the racist language with what he described as his "social justice superpower".

Hofstetter was part of the Oxford Summer Courses programme, which was hosted at Worcester College, Oxford and Hughes Hall, Cambridge. 

At a formal dinner at Hughes Hall to mark the end of the programme, he and fellow students received an anonymous message through iPhone AirDrop, which showed the n-word  and a photo of George Floyd.

Hofstetter said that there was shock and some laughter following the distribution of the message, and that he was forced to act as he was the only Black man in the room and "no one was going to speak up".

He set a thirty minute deadline for the guilty student to confess to sending the message, otherwise he would hack into the network and trace the message back to the device. 

When this half an hour window passed, Hofstetter identified the student responsible and confronted them, leading to an apology.


Mountain View

Women and ethnic minorities get fewer firsts than white male peers, data suggests

Hofstetter, who owns apps and programmes which are designed to fight racism, directly asked the student what he knows about George Floyd, and explained the significance of his murder and the history of racism in the United States. 

He drew attention to the poignance of the location,  Hughes Hall, which is close to the Cambridge Union, where James Baldwin made his influential speech in 1965 that "The American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro".

Hofstetter ended the speech by encouraging others to learn how to fight racism.

In a statement responding to the event, a Hughes Hall spokesperson said that: "We have been made aware that a reportedly racist comment was shared among members of an external group which had hired college conferencing facilities. We understand the matter has been taken extremely seriously by the organisers and is currently being investigated. Hughes Hall condemns racism and racial harassment of any kind".