Former Wits University vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib has been fired at his new job at the University of London after he loosely used the N-word during a video meeting with students.
Habib was the director of the university’s School of Oriental and African Studies, a position he recently took over in January after leaving Wits last year.
According to an insider, in the video, Habib used the N-word to refer to a student, but Habib repeats the ’’N-word’ and after saying the word, a black man, who is part of the meeting, leans closer to the screen with a look of disbelief. In shock, a white lady covered her mouth with her hands.
Habib has since taken to social media to tell his side of the story and apologise.
1. I notice some individuals deliberately misrepresented a conversation in a student meeting yesterday. The video is deliberately cropped in a way to misrepresent. Unfortunately many others have rushed to judgement without the full facts. So let me explain what really happened:— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) March 12, 2021
3. Another student objected arguing that only those who were ‘black‘ (or what I in SA would describe as ‘black African’) could actually verbalize the word.I was taken aback because the case was being argued devoid of any understanding or explanation of the context of my argument.— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) March 12, 2021
4.I did say that I am surprised by the reaction because I could have made the same statement in the context of the same argument back home without provoking this reaction. I did not say we use the word in SA.This is a deliberate distortion used for despicable political agendas.— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) March 12, 2021
5. I then did apologise saying no offense was intended & I again said that if the word was used against another person, it would be a disciplinary offense as it would violate our policies. The question is why is it that after this apology, some are still politicizing the issue?— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) March 12, 2021
6. What is their agenda?There were many issues of importance discussed at the meeting: the strategic plan, the experiences of students & what measures are being instituted to address it,what can SOAS do & and what it cannot afford. None of this is highlighted. What is the agenda?— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) March 12, 2021
7.Why did I apologize?I was not of the view that I did anything wrong.After all I was saying if anyone used the word against another person,action would be taken and I should be duly informed of the case.I apologized because it created discomfort with someone who was engaging me.— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) March 12, 2021