SOAS University of London

Statement on SOAS staff member in EU elections

14 May 2019

We have faced questions from members of the SOAS community and wider academic community asking about SOAS’s position in relation to a SOAS employee who is standing for the AfD party in the European Elections in Germany.

We find the policies of the AfD on a range of matters to be abhorrent. They conflict with the fundamental values we hold as an institution. Those values are reflected in the actions we have taken and will continue to take, for example our active work on decolonisation and our path-breaking campaign to create Sanctuary Scholarships, supporting refugees and displaced persons.

We recognise the anxiety caused to staff and students as a result of this situation.

However, as an academic institution, we are committed to the rights of academic freedom of speech within the law, despite the painful choices to which it gives rise. We encourage members of our community to tackle these issues through robust debate.

Whilst individual members of staff are free to express their personal views - provided they do so within the law - at SOAS we set very high standards of mutual respect and conduct. That is why we have zero tolerance of discriminatory practices and a range of policies, including the Dignity at SOAS policy, to guide behaviours.

The views of individual members of staff employed at SOAS should not be taken to represent the views of SOAS as an institution or SOAS as a community.