Professor of cliches earns a commonplace censure

February 27, 1998

A professor at a leading Madrid university is to be suspended from all teaching duties for six months after an investigation found he had been using "racial, sexual, social and ideological stereotypes" in his classes.

Guillermo Quintana, a 64-year- old professor of educational psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid, was the subject of student protests at the content of his book on the personality and its disturbances, which he presented as obligatory course work.

Excerpts from the book include descriptions of blacks as having "a primitive mentality and customs". The "yellow race" is labelled as "slow, clumsy, lacking in imagination and inventiveness"; whites are "of superior intelligence".

Women are described as passive, weak, unstable, coquettish and fond of housework and beauty competitions. Other gems include calling leading Spanish politicians such as former prime minister Felipe Gonz lez and Catalan leader Jordi Pujol "paranoid".

Professor Quintana was obliged to ask his publishers to withdraw the book from circulation. The university opened an inquiry into his behaviour.

A year later the university has found Professor Quintana guilty of "grave misconduct" on several counts. He failed to give his third-year students at the faculty of education the approved reading list and curricula, announcing instead that his own book would be published shortly and recommending that students buy it.

He offered to get the book cheaper if students bought it in bulk. Professor Quintana also indicated that his book would be very useful for passing exams, even going so far as to say students would not even need to attend classes if they read the book carefully.

The inquiry found the book had "serious scientific deficiencies" and was "inadequate for teaching students", while the classes given by Professor Quintana did not meet departmental requirements.

Professor Quintana, who has been on sick leave since the row erupted, has announced his intention to appeal against the decision, saying it violates his constitutional rights.

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