A senior academic is being investigated by University College London after he was found to have hosted an annual conference in which speakers debated ideas on eugenics and intelligence.
Since 2015, Dr James Thompson has overseen the London Conference on Intelligence, which has seen a researcher who has previously advocated child rape online speak on campus on three occasions.
The university was last night attempting to establish how the honorary lecturer was able to host the event without informing senior officials, who were unaware of which speakers would be attending.
Dr Thompson, a member of the university’s psychology department, has now been blocked from hosting any future events while an investigation is carried out.
It came as details about the conference emerged yesterday, revealing that papers presented at the event include research on the alleged links between genetics and racial disparities in intelligence.
This newspaper has also seen extracts from a lecture delivered in 2015, during which a researcher put forward claims that penile length might be used to predict levels of parental care.
In others, researchers claimed that racial “admixture” has had a negative effect on population quality, and that “skin brightness” is a factor in global development.
It includes a quote from the American psychologist, which reads: “Selective breeding can alter man’s capacity to learn, to keep sane, to cherish justice or to be happy”.
Speakers who have attended include researcher Emil Kirkegaard, who previously wrote that a “compromise” for child pornography would be for paedophiles to have “sex with a sleeping child without them knowing”.
In a blog published on his personal website in 2012, Mr Kirkegaard wrote: “One can have sex with some rather young ones (say, any consenting child in puberty) without any moral problems, especially when one is young oneself.”
“If they don’t notice it is difficult to see how they cud [sic] be harmed, even if it is rape.”
Mr Kirkegaard later wrote that he advocated a “frank discussion of pedophilia-related issues”.
He was unavailable when approached for comment.
Dr Thompson has also written about the “intelligence differences” of children according to their ethnicity.
In a blog published on the website The Unz Review in October last year, he wrote that “Government interventions are going to have to be early, very early. By 21 weeks differences in head circumference are apparent. Not 21 weeks of life, 21 weeks of gestation.
Dr Thompson strongly denied last night that the event promoted “eugenics”, adding that the “bulk of research” was focused on “intelligence” and whether or not it is “heritable”.
“Eugenics is one topic, but many topics are discussed. The reason we have the meeting at UCL is due to the London School – the idea that intelligence is heritable,” he continued.
Defending his comments on child intelligence, he added: “I stand by it until people show me I’ve made an error”.
A UCL spokesman said it was investigating a “potential breach” in its room bookings process, adding that the university had not been informed of the speakers in advance.
“They were not approved or endorsed by UCL,” they added. “We are an institution that is committed to free speech but also to combatting racism and sexism in all forms.
“We have suspended approval for any further conferences of this nature by the honorary lecturer and speakers pending our investigation into the case.
“As part of that investigation, we will be speaking to the honorary lecturer and seeking an explanation.”