Human rights watchdogs urged to investigate university over claims of discrimination against racial czar

Human rights watchdogs are urged to investigate the university for discriminating against the racial czar who denied it an honorary degree

  • The University of Nottingham was due to offer Tony Sewell an honorary degree in 2019
  • Following the government’s decision to accept the recommendations, he felt vindicated
  • But now Free Speech Union leader Toby Young has written to the university

Human rights watchdogs have been asked to investigate a university over allegations that it discriminated against the black author of a report on race.

Bosses at the University of Nottingham were due to offer Tony Sewell an honorary degree at the end of 2019, but the decision was overturned after his review concluded Britain was not institutionally racist.

The university said it was not appropriate to award the degree when Dr Sewell was at the center of a “political controversy”.

Bosses at the University of Nottingham were due to offer Tony Sewell (pictured) an honorary degree at the end of 2019

Speaking yesterday about the fallout from last year’s 258-page report for the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, the 63-year-old, who already has a PhD from Nottingham, said: ‘No one was reading the recommendations’ .

“They just wanted to know if we were talking about issues related to white privilege or institutional racism. Did you agree or disagree? That’s all they wanted to know. And if you weren’t, then you were cancelled.

Following the government’s decision last week to accept a number of his recommendations, he said he felt vindicated.

But now Free Speech Union leader Toby Young has written to both the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Shearer West, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The university (above) said it was not appropriate to award the degree when Dr Sewell was at the center of a

The university (above) said it was not appropriate to award the degree when Dr Sewell was at the center of a ‘political controversy’

The correspondence, seen by The Mail on Sunday, suggests that Dr Sewell, who runs a charity helping black children gain access to higher education, had been sidelined because he “expressed views that, in the mind of some, black people shouldn’t have”. .

Mr Young highlighted a number of people who received honorary degrees from Nottingham despite the controversy.

Among them was King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand – ‘despite his alleged collusion with far-right militias’ – Liu Xiaoming, the former Chinese ambassador to the UK who ‘dismissed reports of Uyghur camps as fake news,” and ex-Malaysian prime minister and convicted money launderer Najib Razak.

The university's list of honorary degree holders published on its website includes figures such as Liu Xiaoming (pictured), the former Chinese ambassador to the UK.

The university’s list of honorary degree holders published on its website includes figures such as Liu Xiaoming (pictured), the former Chinese ambassador to the UK.

The MoS has secured a letter from politicians, led by former education minister Sir John Hayes and his Common Sense group, who criticized the university for validating ‘the hostility of those who have unfairly denounced respectful work , reasoned and proven by Dr. Sewell”.

A spokesman for the University of Nottingham said: “The decision to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree is categorically not a judgment on Dr Sewell personally or an opinion on his work.”

“We fully understood that this would be disappointing news and last December we offered Dr Sewell a sincere apology, together with an explanation of the decision. He remains a notable alumnus of the university.

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