I don't understand why anyone thinks this is dehumanising or racist - UCT Prof
The University of Cape Town (UCT) professor Nicoli Nattrass has defended her work and hit back on her detractors.
Nattrass study on 'Why are Black South African Students Less Likely to Consider Studying Biological Sciences?' has been labelled as dehumanising and patronising.
The controversial paper was published by the South African Journal of Science last month.
Speaking to Clement Manyathela, Nattrass says she did the study because in this year's Master's class in Conservation Biology there were no black South Africans.
We need a much more diverse set of students and colleagues to grapple with this, we need people who understand science ecology.Professor Nicoli Nattrass
We were not judging anybody. We drew up a questionnaire and the student researchers went out during their lunchtime and interviewed as many people as they could get.Professor Nicoli Nattrass
Looking at the results, black South African students were more likely to be saying things like 'I support conservation but I don't have an interest in a career in it'. I don't understand why anyone thinks this is dehumanising or why the research itself is racist.Professor Nicoli Nattrass
Nattrass says she had six student researchers who helped her with the research.
I presented this research to a university committee and everybody thought that is really interesting. Now because it is being misinterpreted and miscommunicated I am being branded as a racist and that that project is racist, I reject that.Professor Nicoli Nattrass
This was an exploratory study. I did not submit it as a research paper, I submitted it as a commentary.Professor Nicoli Nattrass
I am upset that the university has denied me the space to have a reasonable discussion.Professor Nicoli Nattrass
To read Professor Nicoli Nattrass' study, as published in the SA Journal of Science, click here_
Listen to the full interview below...