Utrecht forced to reopen inquiry into lecturer's 'support' for racist theory

February 13, 2004

Utrecht University has been forced to investigate the way a social sciences lecturer discussed a controversial race theory with students, after it had initially concluded he had acted properly.

In a lecture to fourth-year students last year, social psychologist Akko Kalma is alleged to have stood up for a British-born Canadian professor who has published papers suggesting that the IQ of blacks is inferior to that of whites and orientals.

Jean Philippe Rushton, professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, argues that evolution has made people of African descent less intelligent than Europeans or East Asians.

A psychology student at Utrecht felt that Mr Kalma had described the theory uncritically during the lecture and lodged a complaint. Both faculty management and an external expert said they found nothing to reproach in the lecture.

But the issue has continued to haunt the university through media coverage and a leaflet campaign.

The leaflet's author, Peter Tellegen, a psychologist and IQ specialist, criticised Utrecht for its "indolent response" to the allegations against Mr Kalma and said the faculty board should have issued a reprimand because the theory was so dangerous.

Utrecht has now decided to make further inquiries.

"The student was not satisfied with the pursued procedure, and in the media it is increasingly suggested that Mr Kalma acted wrongly," a spokesman said.

The investigation will be conducted by an independent committee, and the university will publish its findings in April.

Mr Kalma, who has since retired, could not be reached for a comment.

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