Ulster University Students’ Union call for removal of Emeritus title from academic following “racist” and “sexist” views

Ulster University have yet to make a decision on whether to revoke the title from Prof. Richard Lynn

Photo Credit: Joe McCalion/ Trinity News

Ulster University Students’ Union (UUSU) has passed a motion to call for the revocation of the Professor Emeritus title from Prof. Richard Lynn following views the motion states as “racist” and “sexist”.

The motion, as seen by Trinity News, alleged that Prof. Lynn had been a speaker and attendee at the “Secret Eugenics Conference” held at University College London (UCL). Last month, UCL launched an investigation into how James Thompson, an honorary senior lecturer at the university, was able to hold the conference on eugenics in secret. The Guardian reports that Prof. Lynn was a previous attendee.

The motion continued to say that Prof. Lynn “advocates that there is a difference in intelligence between races and genders, has edited a ‘white supremacist journal’, and has called for ‘the phasing’ out of ‘the population of incompetent cultures’”. The motion cited Prof. Lynn’s previous work that concluded that mens IQ are higher than women’s, and that black people in the USA have higher IQ’s than those in sub-Saharan Africa. Prof. Lynn states on his website that his research interests include intelligence, sex difference, race differences, and eugenics.

Furthering this, the UUSU motion alleged that Prof. Lynn had given interviews to “neo-nazi” and “fascist” publications, where the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) states that he had given interviews to “neo-Nazi” Alex Kurtagic and “fascist” magazine Right NOW! SPLC states in an interview with the magazine, Prof. Lynn said that he thinks that the “only solution lies in the breakup of the United States,” and that “predominantly white states should declare independence and secede from the Union. They would then enforce strict border controls and provide minimum welfare, which would be limited to citizens”.

The motion stated the union’s opinion on the matter: “The positions advocated by Richard Lynn violate the Good Relations policy, and are racist and sexist in nature. By continuing to bestow the honour of an Emeritus Professor title on Richard Lynn the University is complicit in giving weight to his statements, and failing to provide a welcoming environment for all students.”

The motion continued: “While no longer actively involved in teaching and research, the on-going association with the University is damaging to the reputation of the University, and by association UUSU. White supremacism, racism, sexism, and fascism are not welcome in our University, and UUSU should speak out when people holding these views who are associated with the university are exposed.”

The concluding points of the motion, as seen by Trinity News, said: “The Student Executive will make a statement, either solely or in conjunction with UCU, calling for the revocation of the Professor Emeritus title from Richard Lynn, disavowing UUSU from the views he espouses, and reaffirming UUSU’s commitment to making UU a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.”

The action continued: “If a situation arises in future where a member of UU staff breaches the Good Relations policy, UUSU executive will have the authority to make a similar statement opposing this behaviour.”

The motion passed, with 27 voting in favour, one against and two abstentions, having been brought forward by a postgraduate research councillor.

President of UUSU, Kevin McStravock, spoke to Trinity News: “As a Students’ Union with a commitment to equality and good relations, we have serious concerns about the potential damage that being linked to this individual could have for the university’s reputation and for the university community as a whole.”

McStravock continued: “I have addressed the matter with senior management who are looking into the case, following due process in doing so and I’m hopeful that they come to a swift and sensible resolution.”

Prof. Lynn spoke to Trinity News following the passing of the motion. “My work on race and sex differences in intelligence and personality has been published in top academic journals including Intelligence. It is shocking that the  Students’ Union seeks to suppress these. Students who voted for this motion have no place in a university,” he said.

Prof. Lynn continued: “There was no “Secret Eugenics Conference” in UCL. There was a conference on intelligence and personality at which a paper on dysgenics was given by Dr Adam Perkins of King’s College London. I have never given interviews to “neo nazi” publications and I do not edit any journals. My advice to the students union : Don’t believe everything you read in newspapers.”

Ulster University (UU) have yet to make a decision on whether to revoke his title. Giving a statement to Trinity News, a UU spokesperson said: “Professor Richard Lynn no longer works for Ulster University nor does he contribute to our research and teaching. The University reserves the right to withdraw an Emeritus title after due consideration of all relevant information and notification to the retired academic of a decision reached to do so. The University has been actively considering this and a decision will be reached shortly.”

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.