Dear Professor Leyser,
Suspension of UKRI EDI advisory group
We are writing to you as the Trustees of the British Sociological Association.
The BSA is a learned society which upholds a safe and collegial space for academics to explore sociological issues of fundamental importance to the growth and development of our society.
Work on equality, diversity and inclusion is vital to society, to research in general, and to the BSA as an association and a community.
We appreciate the recent confirmation by UKRI that it is committed to the principles of lawful free speech, to equality, diversity, and inclusion issues, and to evidence-based decision making.
We are concerned, however, about the recent actions taken that appear to be against such commitments. Specifically, we are perplexed by the suspension of the UKRI EDI advisory group.
Given that none of the academics on the EDI advisory group subject to investigation expressed opinions outside of the law, what is the evidence base then of the investigation?
Even if members of such groups have been investigated or sanctioned (and neither of these conditions apply here) it has never been the case that this is the basis of suspending the workings of an entire advisory group.
It is essential for academic research to capture the complete picture and therefore that the whole of society be represented in the work of learned societies and the bodies that fund and support research.
The suspension of the UKRI EDI advisory group has put the UKRI in the limelight and questions progress in the EDI sphere.
We look forward to your response.
The Trustees of the British Sociological Association
Letter sent via email to: The Chief Executive of UKRI