THE possibility of removing a Nobel Prize winner’s name from a building at University College Cork is to be discussed at a meeting in the coming weeks.
UCC could cut ties with Dr James Watson, who helped discover the structure of DNA, over “racist” comments, following a meeting of the governing body in the coming weeks.
The move comes after outrage over comments from Dr Watson and after a New York laboratory said it was revoking all his titles and honours.
In 2007, Dr 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, he said in a recent documentary his views had not changed.
UCC named a building after Dr Watson in 2016.
Responding to criticism at the time, a representative from UCC described Dr Watson as a ‘scientist of world renown’, and said the decision to name the building after him was in recognition of his strong association with the university, including as an advisor to UCC researchers.
The president of the University’s Students’ Union, Alan Hayes, said the issue will be raised at a governing body meeting in the coming weeks.
“We need to review his contribution to this university and society and his accolades and honours from UCC.
“There could be a need to remove these honours, and that will certainly be discussed at the meeting,” he added.
“Certainly, from the Students’ Union perspective, this is a very important issue and one that needs to be raised with the university.”
The Watson Building at the Brookfield Health Science Complex (BHSC) accommodates the ASSERT Centre and laboratories for the INFANT Research Centre.