An investigation into alleged racist behaviour by a member of staff at the University of Warwick has cleared the individual involved. The staff member allegedly said that ‘black people disadvantage themselves’, when talking about job applications. A complaint was made, leading to the case being investigated by the University. The case began back in October, when a student took to Twitter to complain about the incident. See below for the original Tweets. Read on for the full story.
The original event happened in a seminar, where the student claimed that the staff member said that black candidates handed in their applications later than white candidates. She went on to say that black people were ‘generally laid back’. These statements drew the ire of one student, who took to Twitter in response. The incident gained attention on Twitter, with many responding to the original Tweet in solidarity. The University responded, deciding to conduct an investigation after a complaint was made.
The investigation has recently finished, having found that while the staff member had shown ‘poor judgement’, she hadn’t been ‘intentionally racist’ in her dealings. Looking back on the case, the staff member certainly shouldn’t have made such generalisations. It was unfortunate, but it appears that she didn’t mean to be racist. The case now appears to be closed, following this unfortunate process.
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Universities are certainly places where people should be free to exercise and argue any opinion they want. But sometimes these opinions can go too far and cause offence, as seen in this case. While freedom of speech is a crucial doctrine, there is a limit to what can be said. While the staff member here wasn’t intentionally being racist, offence was taken – the case now appears to be closed.