The demands were made by Cambridge Defend Education

Cambridge students have called for Fitzwilliam honorary fellow David Starkey to lose his post after allegations of racism following an appearance on Newsnight.

Historian Dr Starkey claimed in a discussion on last week's riots across England aired by the BBC, "What has happened is that the whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.

"Black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together. This language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that's been intruded in England. And this is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country." He went on to claim that "This type of black male culture militates against education."

Cambridge Defend Education has vowed to campaign for Fitzwilliam to make clear that it rejects Dr Starkey's views, calling on the college to immediately strip Dr Starkey of his honorary fellowship, "an honour he clearly no longer deserves", according to a spokesperson, who stated:

"Cambridge students are rightly outraged at David Starkey's ill-informed and despicable racist diatribe on BBC Newsnight. At a time when the far-right is on the march, to racialise the debate around the recent riots is the height of irresponsibility and clouds the real issues behind the unrest."

"We thereby call on the college to distance itself from his remarks by stripping him of this position. With every day that passes, Fitzwilliam College opens itself up more and more to charges that it passively endorses Starkey's racist sentiments."

The university has refused to comment on the situation, stating that to do so would be "inappropriate". However, students and staff have expressed strong criticism of Dr Starkey's opinions.

Former CUSU president Rahul Mansigani said, "David Starkey's comments were confused and offensive. He has either catastrophically failed to understand the impact of his remarks, or is simply a racist", while University Computing Service staff member and left-wing voice Bruce Beckles said, "One might foolishly hope that a trained historian and academic would know better than to rely on simplistic stereotypes and incomplete information, but, alas, in Dr Starkey's case, one would be sadly mistaken."

During the heated debate on Newsnight, Dr Starkey defended his views, saying, "In these times we need plain speaking." The BBC received over 700 complaints, and Labour leader Ed Miliband has since stepped in to add his condemnation to the storm of criticism that followed the airing of the programme.

However, Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, said that he was “Wondering whether to make David Starkey an honoury Gold Member” for his appearance on the programme, which he described as “very good”.

Dr Starkey, a prolific author and media personality, is most well-known to the public as a presenter of Tudor history. He is no stranger to controversy, having often been described by the media as "the rudest man in Britain."

Sponsored links

Partner links