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University Students in Illinois Say Scholar Must Go

Satoshi Kanazawa

Students at Northwestern University in Illinois are calling for the removal of a guest scholar for views he's expressed in articles titled "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" "Why Liberals and Atheists are More Intelligent," and "What's Wrong with Muslims?"

Satoshi Kanazawa's other titles include "Why What You See Really Is What You Get," a video that explains, in his opinion, that "you indeed can judge a book by its cover — nice people look nice and nasty people look nasty."

"Just by looking at people ... you can often tell who are criminals and who are law-abiding citizens ... because they do look different," Kanazawa said in a video.

In another published paper, Kanazawa wrote, "For cultural, social, and institutional reasons, Asians cannot make original contributions to basic science. ... I believe that its future will continue to be in the United States and Europe."

Students say they want Kanazawa removed.

"Ban Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa from conducting research at Northwestern," is the title of an online petition signed by 4,174 people who object to Kanazawa's line of thinking.

"Kanazawa is just one in a growing number of academics using his intellectual identity to promote racism, sexism and xenophobia," the petition states. "Kanazawa's misogynoir nonsense should not be tolerated on Northwestern's campus, a campus that prides itself with its commitment to support a diverse and inclusive campus community."

"Kanazawa's fraud research and studies reflect modern eugenics, and Northwestern should be ashamed of approving his application to conduct research in Evanston."

Eugenics was a movement in the early 1900s that promoted breeding for a better society. By 1936, more than 60,000 sterilizations were forced in the United States "on mostly poor (and often African-American) people confined to mental hospitals.

Students are also asking the university to examine procedures that vet visiting scholars. In an editorial penned by the college staff of the Daily Northwestern news site, the psychology department chair who approved Kanazawa's request said he was "not aware" of the controversies.

"Meanwhile," the news site staff wrote, "a simple Google search of his name is enough to pull up several articles about his racist views, work controversies and more; many of the pieces themselves are available online as well."

University provost's response

Northwestern's Provost Jonathan Holloway agreed.

"I find that his scholarship presents ideas that are antithetical to values that Northwestern University holds dear," Holloway wrote to the Northwestern community.

However, Holloway wrote, "intellectual freedom" should prevail over "odious" views.

"Due to the open nature of a comprehensive research university, there will unfortunately be occasions when offensive ideas emerge and when people advance arguments that run afoul of well-established, peer-reviewed research findings," Holloway wrote Dec. 13.

"When these moments arise, the first thing that must be done is to remind the community of the University's values, standards and principles if they are at odds with these people or their research. This is such a moment."

Holloway wrote that Kanazawa doesn't teach, and the university does not pay him.

"Like all guest research scholars, he is entitled to express his personal views, including on his personal web pages, as long as he does not represent such opinions as the views of the University," Holloway wrote.

"Kanazawa has made clear his opinions are his own. As a member of the Northwestern community, I believe that personally held views, no matter how odious, cannot be a reason to undermine the vital principle of intellectual freedom that all academic institutions serve to protect."

Attempts to reach Kanazawa were not returned.