To silence racism or let it speak 3

March 31, 2006

Your editorial on the Frank Ellis saga ("Leeds must endure Ellis", March 10) suggests that self-confessed racist lecturer should not be admonished because doing so would canonise him and his beliefs. Yet The Times Higher finds it fit to editorialise the issue and even makes the careless point that "in any case his Russian and Slavonic studies students do not appear corrupted".

How The Times Higher judged this only its editors may be able to explain. It seems that the fact that there are people of colour who teach alongside Ellis is a side issue. And the fact that students of colour have to attend Ellis's classes is not a moot point.

The Times Higher claims that academic freedom has to apply to extremes of Right as well as Left. But unfettered freedom does not lead to more freedom; it actually breeds anarchy.

If, by dealing with Ellis, Leeds canonises the man, people of colour such as myself will not feel cheated.His very exposure offers us some form of catharsis.

If there is a group that buys into the idea of race determining intelligence, Ellis will not make a difference. But he must be allowed to bask in the shame or glory of his racist rants if he so wishes.

George Ogola

University of Central Lancashire

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