Edinburgh University's self-styled "scientific racist" psychology lecturer Chris Brand is today facing a university tribunal which could call for his dismissal.
Mr Brand has been suspended from teaching and administration since November for alleged gross misconduct, after he published an Internet newsletter questioning whether paedophilia charges being brought against 73-year-old Nobel prizewinner Daniel Gajdusek in the United States were in the public interest.
Mr Brand said academic studies and his own experience as an adolescent choirboy suggested that non-violent paedophilia with a consenting partner over the age of 12 was not harmful so long as both parties had an above average IQ and educational level.
"As lead choir boy I met lots of paedophiles who would press florins and half crowns into my horrid little palm at age 13," he said in one of his newsletters. "These men were well above average in intelligence, well-educated, amused me far more than the average geography teachers, gave me useful tips and never frightened me in the least."
In the past the university has defended Mr Brand's right to express his controversial views on race and IQ on the grounds of academic freedom.
But after reports of his newsletter on Gajdusek, the university cut him off from Internet and email links, and announced that he would face disciplinary charges. It believed the newsletter had originated outside the university, but said it was protecting its position after Mr Brand used university facilities to publish an article referring to paedophilia on his home Web page.
The university reiterated that while it supported the rights of staff to speak about and publish their research, even where this might offend, it could have "no truck with the condoning of paedophile acts".
Mr Brand told The THES that he was not urging a change in the law on paedophilia, and claimed nobody would have been interested in his views had it not been for the controversy over his theories on race and intelligence. He speculated that left-wing critics had seen his latest comments as another means of smearing him. He denied he had tarnished the university's name, saying he had done academic life proud by fighting to get his views across, and would defend himself with vigour.
A university spokeswoman said the court had set up the three-member tribunal following an investigation by vice principal Richard Field, and Mr Brand's comments on it. She would not reveal the precise charges, which she said "related to aspects of Mr Brand's conduct".