Accessibility links

Breaking News

Student Union

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.

See all News Updates of the Day

Former US Congresswoman Liz Cheney Urges Graduates Not to Compromise With the Truth

Former U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a Republican who represented Wyoming, delivers the commencement address at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 28, 2023.

Former U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney implored new college graduates to not compromise when it comes to the truth, excoriating her House Republican colleagues for not doing enough to combat former President Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

In a commencement speech at Colorado College, the Wyoming Republican repeated her fierce criticisms of Trump but steered clear of talking about his 2024 reelection campaign or her own political future.

Cheney, who graduated from Colorado College in 1988, recalled being a political science student walking into a campus building where a Bible verse was inscribed above the entrance that read, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

"After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say the 2020 election was stolen, the attack of January 6th wasn't a big deal, and Donald Trump wasn't dangerous," Cheney said Sunday in Colorado Springs, connecting her experiences as a student to her work in the U.S. House of Representatives. "I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership."

In three terms in office, Cheney rose to the No. 3 GOP leadership position in the House, a job she lost after voting to impeach Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and then not relenting in her criticism of the former president.

Cheney's speech touched on themes similar to those she has promoted since leaving office in January: addressing her work on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and standing up to the threat she believes Trump poses to democracy. She also encouraged more women to run for office and criticized one of the election-denying attorneys who worked for Trump after the 2020 election for recent remarks about college students voting.

"Cleta Mitchell, an election denier and adviser to former President Trump, told a gathering of Republicans recently that it is crucially important to make sure that college students don't vote," Cheney said. "Those who are trying to unravel the foundations of our republic, who are threatening the rule of law and the sanctity of our elections, know they can't succeed if you vote."

In an audio recording of Mitchell's presentation from a recent Republican National Committee retreat, she warns of polling places on college campuses and the ease of voting as potential problems, The Washington Post reported.

Most students and parents in the audience applauded throughout Cheney's remarks, yet some booed. Some students opposing the choice of Cheney as speaker turned their chairs away from the stage as she spoke.

Cheney's busy speaking schedule and subject matter have fueled speculation about whether she may enter the 2024 GOP presidential primary since she left office. Candidates ranging from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have calibrated their remarks about Trump, aiming to counter his attacks without alienating the supporters that won him the White House seven years ago.

Though some have offered measured criticisms, no declared or potential challenger has embraced anti-Trump messaging to the same extent as Cheney. She did not reference her plans on Sunday but has previously said she remains undecided about whether she wants to run for president.

Though she would face an uphill battle, Cheney's fierce anti-Trump stance and her role as vice chairwoman of the House committee elevated her platform high enough to call on a national network of donors and Trump critics to support a White House run.

A super PAC organized to support of her candidacy has remained active, including purchasing attack ads on New Hampshire airwaves against Trump this month.

After leaving office and being replaced by a Trump-backed Republican who defeated her in last year's primary, Cheney was appointed to a professorship at the University of Virginia and wrote "Oath and Honor," a memoir scheduled to hit shelves in November.

Two of Cheney's five children as well as her mother are also graduates of the liberal arts college.

Cheney's speaking tour appears to be picking up. She is scheduled to appear Thursday at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan.

How Are Girls in Afghanistan Continuing Their Education?

FILE - Afghan university students chant slogans and hold placards during a protest against the ban on university education for women, in Quetta, Pakistan, Dec. 24, 2022.

After the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan in 2021, they severely limited access to education for girls. Yet a club founded in the U.S., Flowers for the Future, helps Afghan girls keep learning through Zoom meetings with U.S. students. Two students, one Afghan, one American, describe their journey with the program and what it's taught them about grit, resilience and the importance of learning. Read the essays by Mahsa Kosha and Emily Khossaravi in the Hechinger Report. (May 2023)

Could Your International Degree be Financed by Goldman Sachs?

FILE - The logo for Goldman Sachs is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, Nov. 17, 2021.

Quite possibly, since the elite U.S. investment bank has been investing millions in educational startups. Students from countries like India, Nigeria and Indonesia have long struggled to finance their U.S. degrees due to limited access to loans, but these new startups could disrupt that. For example, in just the first quarter of 2022, one startup, Prodigy Finance, reported a 98% increase in the number of Indian loan applicants. Nick Cuthbert of the PIE News breaks down the financial projections. (May 2023)

How Do College Sports Bring Together American and International Students?

FILE - People play ultimate frisbee on the beach, April 11, 2018, in Santa Barbara, California.

The game of Ultimate Frisbee has no referees and isn't governed by the official association for U.S. college sports. But it is intensely competitive, and students from Australia, China and elsewhere travel to the U.S. to play for the best schools. Andrew Smith of VOA Learning English reports on how college athletics can forge international friendships outside the classroom. (May 2023)

Is It Possible for Vietnamese Universities to Find Ways to Attract American Students to Study Abroad?

FILE - An aerial photograph of Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 6, 2021.

Vietnamese students now make up the fifth-largest group of foreign students in the U.S., according to the 2022 Institute of International Education’s (IIE) annual Open Doors report. The report found 20,713 Vietnamese students studied in the U.S. in the 2021-2022 academic year.

But now some Vietnamese universities have recently begun trying to attract U.S. students to study in Vietnam, a goal that is challenging, some education experts told VOA’s Khanh An. (May 2023)

Load more