Time to tackle denial of hate

By Raheem Kassam, November 10, 2011
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Denial is a dangerous defence mechanism, especially when the safety of our society is concerned. Those who are uninformed can be excused for their ignorance, but top-level appointees with all the necessary resources at their disposal must be held to account – that is the very basis of transparency and democracy.

Even before University College London concluded an investigation into the radicalisation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Malcolm Grant, the chairman of the inquiry, declared his thoughts on the outcome. This arguably could have skewed the results as a panel packed with people in his employ deliberated over the issue.

His persistent and promiscuous denial of British campus extremism has seriously undermined his institution, his colleagues, his students and left him in a position that can only be described as untenable.

For a man who earns over £350,000 of public, private and student money to shirk his responsibilities is dereliction of duty of a level usually left to disgraced government ministers and their ilk. Now universities are suffering their own crises.

When Sir Howard Davies resigned as director of the London School of Economics in May, he did so with his head in his hands, admitting culpability for the university's links to the murderous Gaddafi regime. Attempts to rectify the problem were honorably made.

With Student Rights' new report outlining specific trends, including case studies of extremist behaviour on campuses, Prof Grant can no longer deny radicalisation attempts on university campuses. The only remaining question is how do we stop it?

Unless he can face this reality and offer to forfeit a significant proportion of his salary to UCL to help tackle the problem, then he has no recourse but to consider his position and finally allow staff and students to move on from this shameful episode.

Raheem is director of Student Rights, a group tackling campus extremism. Its new report is titled A Lesson in Denial

    Last updated: 12:35pm, November 10 2011