St Chad’s strips Stephen Pax Leonard of Fellowship after his racist tweets were exposed
Durham said his views were ‘objectionable and ill-judged’
Dr Stephan Pax Leonard has had his Research Fellowship removed after his Islamophobic and Anti-Semetic tweets were reported.
In an email sent to students of St Chad's College, Principal Dr Margaret Masson confirmed that Leonard would be stripped of his title, adding while St Chad's encourages free speech, Leonard's comments could not be ignored.
The email reads: "St Chad’s College is fully committed to free speech. However, as Principal, I believe that Dr Leonard’s comments – as reported – were objectionable and ill-judged. I have therefore withdrawn Dr Leonard’s research fellowship (which is an honorary, unpaid position).
“These are very difficult issues, bringing into sharp juxtaposition two values that St Chad’s College holds dear – that of being a diverse inclusive community which welcomes and supports people from a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs, while also being an academic community absolutely committed to freedom of expression – even when that is challenging; this has provoked careful scrutiny of our policies and values and much rigorous discussion.
“We appreciate that there are will be a variety of strongly held views on this, both within the St Chad’s community and beyond. We hope that discussion will be thoughtful and respectful as well as robust.”
Stephen Pax Leonard had previously tweeted that Sadiq Khan "wanted London to become a Mecca for Muslims" and that "millions of Muslims support ISIS". These and many other Anti-Semitic posts have since been deleted.
Leonard's tweets were later published in Cherwell and were covered by The Durham Tab yesterday. At that time, A Durham University spokesperson said: “The views that have been reported are wholly inconsistent with the values of St Chad’s College and Durham University. We are looking into the issue and do not comment further on individual cases.”