Edinburgh University student under fire over 'Islamophobic' statements

Edinburgh University is investigating a PhD candidate who has been accused of racially abusing a woman online.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 12:30 pm

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The dispute began when Shazia Amjed responded to a Facebook Marketplace post in Bogdan Nita’s name on June 24 hoping to buy a basket for a craft project.

After inquiring about the price, the 34-year-old from Colinton was told the basket was only available to people from certain religious and ethnic backgrounds.

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Edinburgh University PhD student Bodgan Nita has been accused of Islamophobia online.

"It's only for Jews, Brit or Europeans," a comment from the account read.

Mr Nita has been a member of Edinburgh University’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures since 2018.

The account in the Comparative Literature PhD student’s name said the basket was kosher and it was “forbidden” to sell to someone who “promotes the flag of a terrorist organisation”.

“He was referring to the Palestinian flag that I had on my Facebook profile,” said Ms Amjed. “I think he saw it and assumed I was Muslim.”

Mr Nita, who has been studying at Edinburgh University since 2018, has recently been removed from the university's website.

Shocked by the abrupt message, the project manager told Mr Nita that she was British and threatened to expose Mr Nita’s comments on social media.

Mr Nita appears to have responded to this by writing: “Sure, as if a paper proves the values. You’re a Muslim refugee and nothing else, f*****g rat.”

Ms Amjed was then blocked from the account, which changed its display name from Theodor Nita to Theodor Nitsch and removed Mr Nita’s profile picture. His official name is Bodgan Nita.

I was more angry than upset

The Facebook account in Mr Nita's name has changed three times since the incident, going by: Theodor Nita, Theodor Nitsch and Bogdan Nita.

Left shaken by the exchange, Ms Amjed reported the conversation to Facebook and Edinburgh University’s complaints team.

“I was more angry than upset,” she said. “But when I found out he is a student at a prestigious university I got worried.

“He clearly has issues with people of certain colours, races and religions. If he is saying that to me, how is he treating people at the university? Also his research might be biased.”

Ms Amjed has called for Mr Nita, who studied at King College London before moving to Edinburgh, to be stripped of his right to continue studying.

She believes he has broken the university’s code of conduct and should therefore lose his right to study at the historic institution.

“I think he needs to be removed,” she said. “Because his behaviour completely goes against the university’s code of conduct. Nobody should be able to speak to another person like that, it’s hate speech.”

The case is ongoing

Edinburgh University confirmed that it was investigating the complaint but did not provide any further information about the situation.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh University said: “The case in question is ongoing therefore we cannot comment specifically upon this case.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the university will investigate any complaint of this nature thoroughly and will take disciplinary action when required.

They said: “The university is committed to promoting a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness.

“Our code of student conduct sets out clear expectations of behaviour. The university regards any incident of discrimination as a serious matter; we investigate any formal complaints thoroughly, and where appropriate take disciplinary action.”

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