Malaysian Student In Top UK Uni Gets Death Threats And Racist Hate Emails Every Day
A Malaysian student was delighted when he was elected to lead the student union of a top Scottish university. However, little did he know that he was going to be the target of racism every day ever since he assumed the post.
Raj Jeyaraj, the president of UK's Strathclyde University's student union, said that serving the students was "the best thing" that has ever happened to him but he never thought that he was going to be stalked and bombarded with death threats and racist emails sent by anonymous trolls.
"The transition from diversity officer to President somehow made people uncomfortable. Here I was - a non-white person, from Malaysia, leading a student union," he wrote in a Facebook post recently.
Raj has been subjected to constant personal attacks and harassment ever since he was elected in June as a student president at Strathclyde University. He is the first international student to helm the position.
In the last few months, not a day has gone by without him receiving some of the most damaging and hurtful statements. The thing is, he doesn't even know who sends them.
As the student union president, Raj has availed himself to the students at his university to serve them better.
"I try to be the best leader I can for my students – be as accessible and visible as I can. I increase my communication to introduce a new level of transparency, accountability and accessibility," the 25-year-old postgraduate biomedicine student said.
While many have reached out to him because of he is approachable, being at the forefront with such openness also makes him an easy target.
People have seized the opportunity to abuse and threaten him with "detailed, descriptive, and explicit language behind anonymous email addresses and fake profiles on social media".
It's a daily routine to hear about false and unsubstantiated claims. These trolls wanted to defame and tarnish his reputation simply because he is a person of colour.
"They would blame me and accuse me of being linked to terrorist attacks, of bombing countries, or simply every single f##king time something wrong happened in the f##king world," he wrote in the impassioned post, asking readers to pardon his language.
"They played mind games. Told me to 'go back to my home country'. To quit my job - trust me I think about it every single day."
"I only have one arm and people say that I deserved to lose my arm."
Raj lost an arm after he was involved in a car crash in 2009 and some people took advantage of that to ridicule and insult him for his disability.
Some even went as far as to warn him that they will cut off his other arm.
Although police reports had been made, efforts to limit these hate incidents seemed to be ineffective
Raj said that he had spent the last semester dealing with the police, giving his statements for four consecutive weeks with each week taking up 15 hours of his time. He even went in to give statements when some other students were not spared from these deadly and racist threats.
However, the police were unable to trace and track down the culprits since those threats were sent through anonymous email websites.
"They (the police) watched my every move and marked my house as a 'high priority address'. I was never allowed to walk home or even in the streets because it was ‘unsafe'."
"The police would sit for hours every day asking if I did anything to instigate this, blaming my every move. So I just stopped reporting. My students stopped reporting," he said.
However, the constant abuse from haters didn't break Raj's spirit. He's determined to stand up for other victims of racism and urged others to do the same.
He recounted how many students have spoken up against racism and reached out for help when they are down after knowing what he went through. He added that his own experiences have allowed him to raise awareness about these ongoing issues and reveal the true extent of the discrimination faced by certain groups of people.
"I want students of all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences united, empowered, and believing that they have the power to decide, design, and build how they live, the society they live in, and the future they want to see," he said.
"And my jobs allow me to do that. Little by little, day by day, student by student."
Never give up and keep fighting for what you believe in, Raj Jeyaraj!