Home Expatriates French Research Center Director Quits After Accusations of ‘Racism and Neocolonialism’

French Research Center Director Quits After Accusations of ‘Racism and Neocolonialism’

Rabat – After being accused by her employees of “racism and neocolonialism,” Sabrina Mervin, director of the French Jacques Berque Center for Humanities and Social Sciences in Rabat, presented her resignation letter from the institution Wednesday, Sept. 13.

A source at the center, who prefered to stay unnamed, confirmed to Morocco World News that Mervin had resigned, stating that “she could not stand all the accusations addressed against her, and chose to pull herself out of this scandal.”

In a petition published September 8 on the website Change.com entitled “An aid worker should not do this,” a collective of young researchers denounced the behavior of Mervin, an Islamic historian, whom they accused of “dysfunctioning this Research Center by setting up a deleterious climate.”

For the employees of the center, Mervin had “created a climate of terror with impunity, particularly when it comes to the non-French staff of the Center.”

In the aftermath of the news, several Moroccan former researchers and doctoral students added their voices to that of the group, stating that had also experienced “unexplained sidelining” since the arrival of Mervin as the head of the CJB in September 2015.

The group of researchers accused Mervin of “exerting on the Moroccan staff of the Center a continuous harassment of a rare violence,” which according to them led to serious health complications. “Out of the six people working as staff in the institution, four of them went through the emergency and resuscitation services of the hospitals in Rabat,” they wrote.

The petition detailed that the secretary general of the center was violently assaulted by Mervin and was a “victim of a vagal malaise in June 2017, and was admitted in resuscitation.” However, according to the document, the matter was shortly after classified.

The French embassy in Morocco did not respond to request for comments.

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