Students protested on King's Parade in March. Joe Cook

St Edmund’s has terminated the research fellowship of Dr Noah Carl following an investigation into his research work, the Master has announced today.

In an email to St Edmund’s members this evening, Master Matthew Bullock, speaking on behalf of the College’s Governing Body, said that they had “voted tonight to accept the recommendations [of the investigation] and Dr Carl’s Research Fellowship will be terminated.” The decision follows several months of protest from St. Edmund’s College members around the appointment. 

A statement from St Edmund’s College stated that the panel investigating complaints about Dr Carl’s research activities and connections found “the poor scholarship of this problematic body of Dr Carl’s work, among other things, meant that it fell outside any protection that might otherwise be claimed for academic freedom of speech.”

It continued, “the panel found that, in the course of pursuing this problematic work, Dr Carl had collaborated with a number of individuals who were known to hold extremist views. There was a serious risk that Dr Carl’s appointment could lead, directly or indirectly, to the College being used as a platform to promote views that could incite racial or religious hatred, and bring the College into disrepute.”

In full: St Edmund’s master Matthew Bullock’s email to all members of the college’s Combination Room

Dear Member of the Combination Room

The Governing Body has tonight considered the Special Investigation Panel in relation to your complaints about the nature and quality of Dr Carl's work.

This Panel led by Professor Michael Herrtage has upheld your complaints. It has recommended that we take action in relation to Dr Carl's employment and Fellowship. The Governing Body has voted tonight to accept the recommendations and Dr Carl's Research Fellowship will be terminated.

In light of these findings, on behalf of the Governing Body and myself, I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and offence felt by all members of the Combination Room. Diversity and inclusivity are fundamental values of the College and we abhor racism and religious hatred. There are lessons we must learn about how we demonstrate the importance of these values and we will take action to repair the damage that has been caused to our College community. The priority now is for all members of College to address the harm caused by this matter and to work constructively together to heal the divisions and restore relationships.

The Governing Body also considered the recommendations of a separate external review by Sir Patrick Elias. He addressed the concerns you expressed about the process of recruiting Dr Carl and the way the College handled this appointment. Sir Patrick rejected the complaint that there were failings in the recruitment procedure. The College had followed a well-established inter-college process for recruiting research fellows that had been used successfully in the past by this and other colleges. However Sir Patrick has made a number of recommendations to improve the process for the future which the Governing Body has taken on board.

A statement about the outcome of the investigations will also appear on the College's website.

Yours sincerely

Matthew Bullock, Master on behalf of the Governing Body

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One investigation into the recruitment process which appointed Carl, led by a former Pembroke fellow and retired Lord Justice Sir Patrick Elias, “rejected the complaints that there were failings in the recruitment procedure”, according to the statement. The investigation has come under criticism from members of the college, who cited a “lack of independence and representation”.

In response to the findings, one Eddie's student involved in protesting Carl's appointment questioned, “how can a ‘working’ system hire a ‘racist’? I think the results of the investigation into the appointment procedure still defies belief.”

Despite the panel rejecting that there were failures in the process, the Governing Body decided to adopt a number of recommended changes to their recruiting procedure, as suggested by the panel.

A second Special Investigation Panel, chaired by Professor Michael Herrtage, looked into Carl’s collaboration with “a number of individuals who were known to hold extremist views”. 

For the last five months, students and staff have protested Carl’s appointment to the College’s prestigious research fellowship.

In December, over 1400 academics and students signed an open letter calling for Carl’s termination, citing his non-peer-reviewed research into links between race, IQ, and criminality, sparking the college’s investigation into his appointment.


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Mountain View

St. Edmund’s students protest on King’s Parade calling for rescindment of Noah Carl’s fellowship

Speaking to Varsity in December, several Eddie’s students had expressed their embarrassment and disappointment that Carl was a researcher at the college. One student said, “It’s a purely academic discourse – we get it – but we don’t have social sciences without everyday experiences and its repercussions, so the experiences of people who face everyday realities cannot be completely detached from this.”

Commenting on the College's decision, an Eddie's student involved in the protests said, “students have persistently protested, in imaginative ways, at Friday formals, outside council meetings, in the lawns, in the Kings Parade. The credit should go to the resilient spirit of the student body at St Edmunds, and to various student groups across Cambridge who stood with them in solidarity.”

In the Master’s email this evening, Bullock wrote: “I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and offence felt by all members of the Combination Room. Diversity and inclusivity are fundamental values of the College and we abhor racism and religious hatred. There are lessons we must learn about how we demonstrate the importance of these values and we will take action to repair the damage that has been caused to our College community.

“The priority now is for all members of College to address the harm caused by this matter and to work constructively together to heal the divisions and restore relationships.”

Carl was formerly a doctoral student at Nuffield College Oxford.

On OpenPsych, a non-peer-reviewed journal, Carl alleged in 2016 that the percentage of Muslims in a country’s population are positively “associated with Islamist terrorism across Western countries”. Carl has also spoken at the London Conference on Intelligence – a conference on race intelligence and eugenics which in the past has been covertly held at University College London.

Following one peaceful protest against Carl in January, Varsity revealed that three St Edmund’s students, all of whom were BME, were threatened with disciplinary action over their involvement, which the college had accused of being “intimidating and threatening”.

A motion to support an investigation into Carl’s fellowship was passed unanimously in CUSU Council in January.

Updated, 1st May 2019: This article was updated to include comment from an Eddie’s student involved in past protests around Dr Noah Carl’s fellowship.

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