Dear Professor Andrews
In response to the open letter that you published on Thursday 18 February, as you may expect, Leeds Beckett University disagrees with a number of your assertions in the letter, from a point of accuracy.
Firstly, you made the request that the episode of the ‘Talking Race’ podcast you appeared on be withdrawn. We can confirm we will do this.
Leeds Beckett University firmly believes in academic freedom and freedom of expression. This stance is central to the work of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality too.
We recognise the importance and also the difficulty of these debates and the challenge of hearing and respecting different views and perspectives. However this is not helped if there is not respect on either side. We can disagree but it is vital that the manner of that disagreement is expressed in a way that does not descend into personal attack and therefore damage the rigour of the debate.
It is clear that this commitment is not incompatible with the decision to remove any association with Ms Khanom as a result of comments made on both her personal Twitter account and the Twitter account of The Race Trust on Sunday 14 February. As both founder and director of the Race Trust, she is responsible and accountable for any views publicly expressed.
The decision to disassociate the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality from Ms Khanom was made once representatives of the university had sought to clarify the circumstances around those comments directly with Ms Khanom herself on two separate occasions. It was as a result of those conversations that the decision was made to cease association with Ms Khanom.
This took place in a relatively short timescale but the university is confident in the rigour of those discussions and the integrity of the decision making and stands by that decision.
Our statement clarifying that she was an associate of the university and not employed by us was then issued in response to media enquiries.
Professor Damien Page