Professor Adam Habib

Professor Adam Habib is a South African academic. In March 2021, Habib was suspended as University of London's School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) director after he came under fire for using the N-word in response to a question about lecturers using the term in class.

Career

Before he joined the University of London's School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) as a director, Habib served as Wits University vice-chancellor.[1] He left his position at Wits in 2020 and joined SOAS in January 2021.[2]

Racism Allegations

In March 2021, Habib was asked to step aside as University of London's School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) director after he came under fire for using the N-word in response to a question about lecturers using the term in class. Professor Clair Ozanne was appointed SOAS interim director.

In an apology to students and staff on 12 March, 2021, Habib said he recognised the hurt and distress his use of the N-word had caused.

Habib explained the context, saying:

"During the meeting, a student questioned SOAS' responsiveness to anti-black racism and suggested that a staff member had used the word without consequences. I responded: '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 recognise 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 in addressing the issues which will enable SOAS to achieve its mission in both the national and global community."

[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sesona Ngqakamba, Adam Habib steps aside as SOAS director while 'N-word' probe is underway, News24, Published: March 18, 2021, Retrieved: April 11, 2021
  2. Sihle Mlambo, Prof Adam Habib suspended after using the N-word in university meeting, IOL, Published: March 18, 2021, Retrieved: April 11, 2021