Top University Investigates After Academic Hosts "Secret Eugenics Conferences"


James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockJan 11 2018, 16:56 UTC

Anton Gvozdikov/Shutterstock

University College London (UCL) is investigating after one of their academics appears to have hosted a controversial eugenics conference without their knowledge.


The conference, which has gone unnoticed by the university for three years in a row, included white supremacist speakers such as Richard Lynn. Lynn has authored books such as Race Differences in Intelligence and has called for the "phasing out" of "incompetent cultures".

Eugenics is the belief in the possibility of improving the human race by selectively preventing those with certain presumed inherited undesirable traits from breeding and thus passing them on

The conference came under close scrutiny this week after Private Eye discovered that the UK Government's controversial appointee to the board of the Office for Students, Toby Young, had attended the conference.

Young said in a BBC Radio 4 interview, in which he defended "progressive eugenics", that he had attended the conference last year. He revealed that the conference was held secretly and "attendees were only told the venue at the last minute and asked not to share any information."


The conference, organized by honorary Professor James Thompson, covered extremely contentious topics and was attended by several prominent white supremacists. It's possible the organizers believed that if the details of where and when it was held leaked out, they would have been met with student protest.

Private Eye reports that at the 2016 conference, one paper argued that racial differences in penis length are a predictor of levels of parental care, whilst another paper stated that racial "admixture" had a negative effect on population "quality".


James Thompson, the organizer, has written several articles claiming men are innately more intelligent than women, and plenty of other works that suggest when it comes to intellectual achievement in the UK, "some ethnic groups contribute relatively little," referencing ideas on race-based intelligence the kind of which hasn't been mainstream since the 1900s.


Thompson is an honorary senior lecturer at UCL, though it said it had no knowledge of the conferences hosted on its campus. The university told the Guardian that they asked Thompson for an explanation, and suspended approval for him hosting any further conferences or speakers.

“UCL is investigating a potential breach of its room bookings process for events,” the spokesperson said.

“Our records indicate the university was not informed in advance about the speakers and content of the conference series, as it should have been for the event to be allowed to go ahead.”


The London Student revealed on Wednesday that attendees over the last few years have included Helmuth Nyborg, a psychologist from Denmark who believes immigration would lower the country's IQ, and wrote a book in tribute to Jean Philippe Rushton, a white supremacist and race "scientist".

More controversially, Emil Kirkegaard, who set up the website OpenPsych for psychology papers that haven't been peer-reviewed, also attended. Kirkegaard supports eugenics and has also written on his blog in support of pedophiles being allowed to have “sex with a sleeping child without them knowing”.

“If they don’t notice it is difficult to see how they could be harmed, even if it is rape,” the Telegraph reports he wrote. (You can't make this up.)


Defending the conference, Thompson told the Telegraph that the secret event did not promote eugenics. “Eugenics is one topic, but many topics are discussed. The reason we have the meeting at UCL is due to the London School – the idea that intelligence is heritable.”

UCL plans to talk to Thompson further and seek an explanation for why the secret conference was held.

Toby Young, the Government appointee who attended the conference, resigned from his post on the same day he was asked by Private Eye about it.