Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

Nuffield College ‘unconcerned’ about academic’s ‘racist pseudoscience’, claim students

Nuffield students accused the college of not acting on their complaints about Noah Carl

Cherwell understands that as many as seven Nuffield students complained to College administrators about Noah Carl’s conduct in the wake of last year’s revelation that he was involved in a secret eugenics conference at UCL.

A number of students raised concerns that Carl is involved with multiple groups which produce and disseminate discredited race science. No formal action was taken, and Carl was allowed to stay until the end of his tenure.

Papers presented at the London Conference on Intelligence include those arguing that racial differences in penis length predict different levels of parental care, lamenting “racial admixture”, and arguing that “low IQ Southern non-Western immigration […] threatens the sustainability of European democracy, welfare and civilisation.”

Carl is the second most prolific contributor to OpenPsych, a non-peer reviewed online journal linked to the Conference that focuses on issues of race, criminality and intelligence, and has links to the far-right. Carl’s articles for OpenPsych include two on the connection between terrorism and Muslim population size using data from an Islamophobic conspiracy website.

A spokesperson for the Warden of Nuffield College told Cherwell: “Dr Carl left the College’s employment in September 2018 to take up another post. The College is not able to comment further on confidential matters relating to the employment of a former member of staff.”

Cherwell also understands that a number of students complained to the JCR and the Department of Sociology, and that at least two met personally with the Warden to discuss the contents of the London Student article.

One of these students told Cherwell: “We spoke with the warden, he said that they consulted the university, about appropriate actions, and concluded that there wasn’t any ‘formal’ action to take”.

“It seemed all they had resolved to do after meeting with Noah in the interim was to have the eugenics conference remove any mention of Nuffield.”

Another told the Warden that Carl’s presence in the college might violate the Nuffield code of conduct by constituting an imposition of an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for another person.”

Speaking to Cherwell, they described their meeting with the Warden as “very unsatisfac- tory”, saying he appealed to freedom of speech. “He was also very non-committal about the extent to which he had looked at the material of the eugenics conference, which seemed purposely evasive to me.”

Noah Carl, who was a postdoctoral researcher at Nuffield until leaving for Cambridge last year, has been accused by over 500 fellow academics of promoting “ethically suspect and methodologically awed” research into the connection between race and criminality.

The principal investigator of Noah Carl’s team at the sociology department, Professor Anthony Heath, was alerted to Carl’s activities in early February, with a complainant writing that “Carl is using his role as a researcher on your project to pursue work that is both morally unconscionable and entirely pseudo-scientic.”

Professor Heath responded that while he would not want to give any legitimacy to the views expressed at the London Conference on Intelligence, Carl was selected for the role by a regular open recruitment process, and his work for the project was closely monitored. Professor Heath said it was not within his role or power to “proscribe what researchers do in their personal capacity.”

Professor Heath told Cherwell that he was “utterly opposed to racist doctrines and would not want to give legitimacy to any conference or publication airing racist or pseudo-scientific research.”

However, students have criticised what they saw as the “legitimation and normalisation of Carl’s racist work through prestigious funding prizes from elite institutions.”

The student told Cherwell of an atmosphere of “tension and bitterness” within the College. Speaking anonymously, they said: “Nuffield has proved to be an alienating and deeply divided social science research community, in part because of the legacy of Noah Carl and continued support for him and his racist work amongst a vocal minority of the student body (though not, to my knowledge, amongst Nuffield academics)”.

“I know many students who just try to avoid college life as much as possible because of this culture of acceptance, or at the very least tolerance, of far-right politics,” the 1st-year graduate student told Cherwell.

During his time at Oxford Carl presented papers at the London Conference on Intelligence, a conference on racial eugenics with close links to Richard Lynn’s pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund bankrolls the white nation- alist American Renaissance and eugenicist journal Mankind Quarterly, which Carl has also written for.

Nuffield’s JCR president did not respond to Cherwell’s request for comment.

Support student journalism

Student journalism does not come cheap. Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Check out our other content


X days ’til Christmas

Most Popular Articles