The Free Speech Union has pulled together a letter, signed by over 70 academics, objecting to the cancellation of a seminar by Professor Gregory Clark at Glasgow University’s Adam Smith Business School. The seminar, entitled ‘For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls: a lineage of 400,000 individuals 1750-2020 shows genetics determines most social outcomes’, was due to be given last month, but was “postponed” at the last minute after more than 100 Glasgow academics wrote to the Principal urging him to cancel it. The letter in support of Professor Clark points out that s26 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 imposes a legal duty on higher education providers to uphold academic free speech. In addition, Glasgow University issued a statement on academic freedom in 2018 saying it supports the right of “individuals, groups and societies to arrange events, conferences, lectures and seminars on challenging topics with speakers who may be controversial”.
The signatories of the letter include the current executive director and president of the Economic History Association, as well as 15 ex-presidents, and some of the leading economic historians in the world, including Niall Ferguson and Deirdre McCloskey. You can read a story in the Scottish Times about the letter here.
Stop Press: We’ve added some more signatures – now over 100 from senior academics in the field across the world – and resent the letter.