Far-right may fund `racist' lecturer

Book ban raises stakes in campus row, reports Ros Wynne-Jones
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The Independent Online
Christopher Brand, the university psychology lecturer who admits he is a "scientific racist", is considering financial backing from a far- right eugenics foundation after his controversial new book on IQ was withdrawn by its publishers last week.

Mr Brand is talking about funding from the controversial Pioneer Foundation even as his students at Edinburgh University are boycotting his lectures and calling for his dismissal.

His book The g-Factor was withdrawn by publishers John Wiley following an interview in last week's Independent on Sunday in which Mr Brand claimed black people were less intelligent than whites and single mothers should be "encouraged to breed with higher IQ males to escape the poverty trap''.

The lecturer said he has been forced to consider the Pioneer Foundation because "political correctness has prevented my being heard''.

The foundation currently funds "friends and colleagues'' of Mr Brand, who have maintained there is a direct link between IQ and race, including Roger Pearson, a North American academic who has advocated a "supergeneration'' genetically engineered from the fittest whites.

Professor Richard Lynn, of Ulster University, Coleraine, is also funded by the Pioneer Foundation, which was formed in 1937 with the aim of fostering research into heredity, eugenics and "race betterment". He has recently published a paper claiming men are significantly more intelligent than women, prompting picketing by students. Mr Brand said he held common ground with the professor's work and considered him to be a "distinguished and rigorous academic".

A former editorial adviser of the Foundation's journal, The Mankind Quarterly, was the Nazi scientist Baron Otmar von Verscheur.

Mr Brand said: "I have avoided being linked with the Foundation before now because I have been trying to keep the anti-racists quiet. I also wished to maintain the integrity of my own research. But I am now considering offers from anyone who wishes to publish my book. The foundation is aware of my predicament and decisions will have to be taken."

West Lothian police are currently watching Mr Brand's flat and university security cars are observing the psychology faculty, following concern that the lecturer maybe a target for anti-racist protests.

Stressing the views of Mr Brand were "personal, and not necessarily the views of the university,'' a university spokesman denied his position had become untenable. "Mr Brand expresses his own views, for which he takes responsibility,'' he said.

A former colleague said: "I am very concerned about the reputation of the university and psychology , although I don't believe the book should be banned or Chris should be sacked.''

As his students boycotted his lecturers last week, a history of campus controversy over Mr Brand began to emerge. Ten years ago he was asked to resign his position as a Director of Studies at Edinburgh following allegations of sexism and racism. Complaints had been presented on behalf of all 42 fourth year students to the Dean of the Faculty, resulting in Mr Brand's resignation as Director of Studies. He retained life-long tenure as a lecturer, however.

Mr Brand's current students allege little has changed. Kirstine Mullin, 21, a third year psychologist said: "A lot of people come out of his lectures insulted; we have put up with it for years.''

Carol Duncan, 21, also a psychology student, said many students resented a lack of balance in lectures on IQ. "He is regarded as a harmless eccentric by the department, but he is damaging our education,'' she said.

Students particularly objected to a questionnaire Mr Brand circulated called "the Edinburgh Sociosexual Style Survey".

One question asked the respondent to "write your age and circle the sex of your partner on the occasion when, in what was for you, the first time with any partner, at least one of you had a climax.''

Another asked: "What were the oustanding things about the best lover and the best sex you ever had?'' The final question asked: "Can you remember the occasion of your first kiss? Please write what you can recall of what happened that day.'' Students complained about the same questionnaire 10 years ago.

Mr Brand says he is hurt by the actions of his students, who are "baying for blood in a false moral panic'' and "dredging up matters of years ago that I never had the opportunity to challenge then and strongly deny now.'' Academics, he said, are "not primarily employed to tutor students; our primary function is to propagate research''.

"It is unforgiveable in third year students, who are not children, that they can't listen to the other point of view,'' he said, in a view ironically backed by a group of Revolutionary Communist students at Edinburgh, currently engaged in denouncing censorship of his views.

To Mr Brand, who remains utterly convinced of the truth of his theories and the wrongheadedness of his critics, the matter comes down once more to IQ. "Once we abandoned the grammar schools, which enabled higher IQ students to be identified, and they broadened higher education, we ceased to have the calibre of student capable of abandoning their prejudices and of standing up for themselves,'' he said.

Mr Brand is currently funded by Edinburgh University, which pays him a salary as a lecturer, and by paid work for West Lothian Police, whom he has been advising on IQ testing for officers.

Lothian Racial Equality Council said it was concerned to hear that Mr Brand was linked to the local police. A spokesman said: "It will undermine the confidence of the ethnic community in the police.''

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