Farewell to Frank Ellis

July 21, 2006

The devil looks after his own and in the case of Frank Ellis it's a truism. He decided to take early retirement and Leeds University has given him with a sweetener of one year's salary as well as making a contribution to his legal costs.

Those who empathise with Ellis believe that he has been expediently sacrificed at the altar of political correctness for expressing his daring views about race and intelligence. To me, some of his actions were not just controversial but contravened the Race Relations (Amended) Act 2000. But since a court case has been averted, we'll never know for sure.

It would appear that Leeds, as a rational economic organisation, has done a deal with Ellis, because I wonder how many other lecturers who took early retirement from thatuniversity have been given ex-gratia payments of a year's salary?

Academic freedom is a privilege that must be balanced with responsibility, not an unalienable divine right that trumps the law of the land.

As a black person I am sick of people ramming Voltaire's famous quote down my throat and insisting that as long as it's done in the name of freedom, people such as Ellis have the right to insult, denigrate and perpetuate lies about me on the basis of my ethnicity - an immutable ascribed role that I have no control over. Life as a black university lecturer is tough enough but Ellis's crowing conceit that my genetic make-up makes me inherently less intelligent than my fellow white lecturers is a self-fulfilling fallacy that can make it even tougher.

So it's goodbye from him and good riddance because the world of academia will be richer not poorer without people such as him.

L. Roger Numas Brighton University

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