Donald MacLeod, Guardian (London), March 16, 2006
Leeds University has moved to silence a lecturer who aired controversial views on race following protests from students.
The university initially resisted calls for the sacking of Frank Ellis, a lecturer in Russian and Slavonic studies, who caused outrage went he told the Leeds Student newspaper he was an “unrepentant” supporter of Enoch Powell who predicted “rivers of blood” in multicultural Britain and supported the so-called Bell Curve theory that white people are more intelligent than black people.
But the university management has now paved the way for possible legal action against Dr Ellis by asking him to clarify his views on its policy on equality and diversity. In the meantime he has been asked to refrain from public comment.
The university secretary, Roger Gair, today issued a statement saying the university had a “legal duty as a public body to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different racial groups”.
He added: “Dr Ellis’ opinions on racial issues, as reported extensively by the media, are not only abhorrent to the overwhelming majority of our staff and students, and run counter to our values, but jeopardise our legal responsibilities in this area.
“Accordingly, we wrote to Dr Ellis on March 8 asking him to desist from further public comment for the time being, until we are satisfied that he is not undermining our commitment and legal responsibility to promote and protect diversity and equality of opportunity and provide a safe and supportive environment for our staff, students and visitors. The university intends to discharge its full responsibilities under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.”
After causing a furore with an interview with Leeds Student, Dr Ellis wrote a follow-up article in which he stated: “Multiculturalism is doomed to failure — and is failing — because it is based on the lie that all people, races and cultures are equal, that no one race or culture is better (superior) than any other.”
Such lies were propagated by the “Guardian-reading classes”, he said.