URBANA, Ill. — The University of Illinois has cancelled plans to host a talk by Nobel Laureate James Watson after faculty raised concerns about his discredited views on race and intelligence.
Carl Woese Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson tells The News-Gazette the center dropped plans to host the scientist before a date had even been set.
Watson co-discovered the structure of DNA and has a history of racially insensitive comments.
Robinson says Watson initially reached out to the institute to give a “narrowly focused scientific talk” about his cancer research in conjunction with a planned visit to a colleague’s lab.
Robinson says he wasn’t surprised by faculty members’ reaction but that he had told them the institute doesn’t condone Watson’s past comments.
Could training in implicit bias be helpful at your institution?