Statement from SOAS Director to SOAS community

12 March 2021

The Director emailed SOAS staff and students today and in that email he said:

"As many of you are aware there has been a controversy that emanated from the all-student meeting yesterday in which I mentioned the n-word after a student query on a case in this regard.

"I want to apologise unreservedly for having done so. I do now recognise the hurt and distress that has been caused and will continue to listen.

"It may be helpful to explain the context in which the statement was made.

"During the meeting, a student questioned SOAS’s responsiveness to anti-black racism and suggested that a staff member had used the word without consequences. I responded that: “If someone used the word [n-word] against another staff member, then it would violate our policy and action would be taken.”

"I apologised, saying no offence had been intended, and reiterated that if the word was used against another person, it would be a disciplinary offence as it would violate our policies.  Nevertheless I recognize that despite the context, many in our community were offended and hurt by the term. And for this I apologise unreservedly.

"I am sorry to have caused this controversy, and I am keen to work with the whole School on addressing the issues which will enable SOAS to achieve its mission in both the national and global community."