April 11, 2016

Speaking out

I haven't slept well. Again. And it isn’t the jet lag.

I am in Seoul, and have just spoken at the KAIST President's Forum. KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology) is one of Asia's top institutions, and at this meeting, we have had a lot of discussion about global university futures. I have also had a chance to meet with members of our excellent and active alumni community.

Understandably, my thoughts are also with students and staff back at Warwick. Twice, in less than a week, the University has been associated with issues of racism. In one, an act of racism against one of our students on campus; in another, racist statements attributed to one of our students. I will not describe either - although social media is full of both - not least as there are investigations underway.

The principles, though, are something I can comment on. Racism is not, cannot be, and will not be tolerated. The point of racism is to dehumanise. It takes many forms. Racism can be based on ethnicity, background or faith - Islamophobia and anti semitism is also racism. We all have the right within the law to be who we want to be. The attitudes of some, that they can use those choices to decide who is more or less human, must always be resisted.

Such acts of racism are, sadly, found throughout society. An important response for all of us is, in my view, that we speak out. This is my attempt to do precisely that.

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The statement released on the racist incident on campus published last week, can be read here


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