Cambridge university college sacks academic over links to far-right extremists

Move comes after hundreds of students opposed his work, calling it ‘racist’

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Thursday 02 May 2019 17:55
Comments
Cambridge university college sacks academic over links to far-right extremists

A University of Cambridge college has sacked a research fellow after some of his activities and connections linked him to far-right extremists.

St Edmund’s College has terminated Noah Carl’s post held after hundreds of academics and students called for his appointment to the Toby Jackman Newton Trust research fellowship to be investigated.

More than 1,000 people signed an open letter accusing Dr Carl of producing “racist pseudoscience”.

Dr Carl became a controversial figure after he spoke at a conference, the London Conference on Intelligence, where eugenics was allegedly debated and published a paper arguing stereotypes about the criminality of certain immigrant groups in the UK are “reasonably accurate”.

An investigation panel appointed by the college found Dr Carl had “collaborated with a number of individuals who were known to hold extremist views”.

Matthew Bullock, the master of St Edmund’s, said: “There was a serious risk that Dr Carl’s appointment could lead, directly or indirectly, to the college being used as a platform to promote views that could incite racial or religious hatred, and bring the college into disrepute.”

Mr Bullock apologised “unreservedly” to students for the offence caused by the appointment, adding that Dr Carl’s work was “problematic”.

“We appointed Dr Carl based on his academic achievements at the University of Oxford, and on the commendations which supported his application.

“It is regrettable that such an appointment has been compromised by Dr Carl’s other activities, of which we were completely unaware when electing him to the fellowship,” he added.

But some academics have rushed to Dr Carl’s defence and accused the college of failing to defend freedom of speech. Matthew Goodwin, a politics professor at the University of Kent, tweeted: “Academic freedom is fine so long as you do not work on anything ‘problematic’.”

The move comes after controversial academic Jordan Peterson had his offer of a visiting fellowship rescinded by the University of Cambridge after he was pictured with a man wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, “I’m a Proud Islamaphobe” [sic].

The London Conference on Intelligence has been staged on at least three occasions at University College London (UCL) between 2014 and 2017, with the university later denouncing the gathering and claiming it had taken place on campus without its approval or knowledge.

Speakers at the fringe event discussed controversial topics surrounding human intelligence and the conference was subject to claims it gave a platform for the espousal of eugenics.

Among those known to have attended was Richard Lynn, a psychologist whose belief in racial differences in intelligence has seen him accused of promoting “scientific racism” and Gerhard Meisenberg, editor of the journal Mankind Quarterly, which has been described by some as a “white supremacist” publication.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Dr Carl spoke at the event on at least one occasion, although the exact content of his presentation is unknown.

The researcher has previously dismissed claims he is a “pseudoscientist”, insisting the London Conference on Intelligence had been “widely mischaracterised”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in