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The University of Sussex

 13 May 2002 

University of Sussex rejects racist views

The University of Sussex has strongly dissociated itself from the personal views on race of Geoffrey Sampson, a Professor of Natural Language Processing at the University and a Conservative councillor on Wealden District Council in East Sussex. Professor Sampson had posted an item on his personal website called 'There's nothing wrong with racism'.

The University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith, said:

"The University of Sussex does not share or condone Professor Sampson's personal views on race in any way. We have a long and proud history of teaching and research involving staff and students of all backgrounds, from the UK and overseas, and strong involvement in international development issues. This will continue to be a core part of life at Sussex.

"As a University, we are committed to equality and diversity. We have been running training courses on diversity awareness and will continue to do so for all our staff.

"However, the principle of academic freedom recognises an individual's right to express personal views, however unpalatable they are to others. The article concerned is on Professor Sampson's personal website and is not within his field of academic study. What matters is that personal views in this area must not and should not impact on teaching here at the University, or in treatment of staff or students.

"As part of our normal quality assurance processes, we carefully monitor course content and seek student views on teaching. We have received no complaints through this process about Professor Sampson's views affecting his teaching or treatment of students or staff. If any member of the University were guilty of discriminatory behaviour, we would treat that as a matter of the utmost gravity."




 Notes for editors 

For further information, please contact Rob Read or Alison Field, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, email R.K.Read@sussex.ac.uk or A.Field@sussex.ac.uk.


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