Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
18 Mar 2021
4:58 pm

Habib steps aside over use of N-word

Siyanda Ndlovu

'We will continue to find ways to facilitate the mediated conversations and engagement - including with Adam Habib,' says Board chair.

Former Wits University vice-chancellor Adam Habib has been censured by the trade union. Picture: Gallo Images

The University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has confirmed that its director Adam Habib will step aside from his role to allow the full investigation into his use of the American racial slur (N-word) during a webinar with the students last week.

“As chair of the board, I have agreed with director Adam Habib that he will step aside while this investigation takes place, so as not to compromise the investigation,” said Marie Staunton, chair of SOAS Board of Trustees in a statement.

Staunton said the board was following all necessary steps to ensure that the institution sought to craft and deliver the actions “needed in this regard”.

“We will continue to find ways to facilitate the mediated conversations and engagement – including with Adam – that centre the Black community and the SOAS community broadly, in ways that also do not compromise the process of the investigation,” Staunton said.

“Adam will step aside as of today, ahead of the commencement of the investigation and until the conclusion of the process.”

Many people on social media have been calling and petitioning for the removal of Habib.

Last week he responded to the critics saying that some people were deliberately misrepresenting the conversation and turning it into a political spectacle.

ALSO READ: ‘It’s wrong for him to use the N-word’ – EFF calls for Habib’s sacking

In a series of tweets, Habib argued that some had rushed to judgment without facts.

He argued that the reason he verbally said the word was “arguing for taking punitive action”.

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