UCC cut ties with nobel prize winner over “deplorable” comments

UCC cut ties with nobel prize winner over “deplorable” comments
Dr James Watson pictured at UCC in 2016. The university has no cut all ties with the controversial scientist.

University College Cork has cut ties with a Nobel Prize winner after what the university described as “deplorable” comments on the subject of ethnicity and genetics.

Dr James Watson, who helped discover the structure of DNA, has been criticised for “racist” comments in a recent documentary, which sparked international outrage. A New York laboratory recently said it was revoking all his titles and honours.

In 2007, Dr James Watson told the Sunday Times he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says, not really”.

Despite apologising for his remarks at the time, Dr Watson said in a recent documentary that his views had not changed.

UCC named a building after Dr Watson in 2016 to much consternation.

A statement released to the Echo from the university said: “University College Cork (UCC) rejects the deplorable comments by Dr James D. Watson, expressed on the subject of ethnicity and genetics during the documentary, “American Masters: Decoding Watson”, that recently aired on the American public broadcaster, PBS.

“These comments are utterly incompatible with the mission and values of UCC.

“Upon review of these statements, UCC has taken the decision to rescind the name of the building at the Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, which was named after Dr Watson in 2016.

“UCC acknowledges Dr Watson’s scientific contribution, in particular, his research on DNA.

“However his most recent statements, which invalidate the apology and retraction Dr Watson made in 2007, are irreconcilable with UCC’s core values of respect, diversity and equality.

“UCC wishes to thank the contribution of its staff and students on this issue.” The renaming of the building at the Brookfield Health Sciences Complex will occur together with the university community, under the established university process, according to the statement.

More in this section

Sponsored Content


Catch up on the latest episode of Annie May and the Hit Brigade written and read by  Mahito Indi Henderson.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more