Links to early eugenicists like Francis Galton are a source of institutional “deep regret”
University College London has expressed “deep regret” for its role in spreading eugenics, along with a commitment to strengthen conditions for disabled workers and students and a commitment to give “greater prominence” to teaching about the malignant legacy of the debunked movement. UCL’s latest effort to resolve its connections with early eugenicists such as Francis Galton, who sponsored a professorship of eugenics at the university, is the official apology for legitimizing eugenics – promoting selective breeding of the population, mostly to further racial or discriminatory aims. As part of its apology, UCL accepts with profound regret that it played a central role in the creation, dissemination and legitimization of eugenics,” the university said. The villain is each of us in the twisted history of eugenics | Angela SainiContinue reading “This toxic philosophy cemented the false belief that different values could be attributed to varieties of human life.
It offered the rationale for some of the most heinous crimes in human history: genocide, forced euthanasia, colonialism, and other types of mass murder and injustice based on ethnic and ableist hierarchies. “The legacies and effects of eugenics also cause direct harm through racism, anti-Semitism, ableistism, and other negative stereotyping that they feed. By pushing inequality and refusing opportunity, access and representation, these continue to directly impact the lives of people. UCL’s rector, Prof. Michael Arthur, said, “Prof. Michael Arthur, UCL’s rector, said, ”
We condemn eugenics as a group outright and take a range of actions to understand and resolve our past connections with the eugenics movement. These actions are major steps towards acknowledging and recognizing discrimination within our institution, including our public apology today, and acting to ensure that UCL becomes completely inclusive for both our employees and students. The apology is partly a reaction to the report of an independent inquiry into the history of eugenics at UCL, which ended last year, and recommendations from academics who declined to accept the report, partly because it overlooked eugenics conferences held on UCL premises until 2017. In 2018, it emerged that a private confession had been secretly hosted by an honorary lecturer at the university.
More recently, UCL removed the name of Ronald Fisher from a research center, who succeeded Pearson as professor of eugenics, and renamed it the Center for Computational Biology. UCL said it would also invest in a systematic evaluation and action plan to enhance access and experience for students and workers with disabilities, and to improve access for students from marginalized backgrounds.