Cambridge University college cuts ties with ‘race realist’ philosophy fellow

Emmanuel College has supposedly removed research affiliation with Nathan Cofnas

Emmanuel College has cut ties with research associate Nathan Cofnas, a fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy, after he sparked a race row. The College has supposedly removed their research affiliation with the fellow.

In a recent blog post published on Monday 5th February, Cofnas controversially wrote that in a meritocracy, “blacks would disappear from almost all high-profile positions outside of sports and entertainment”.

This is not the first time Cofnas has been involved in controversy, as a separate article in 2019 where he claimed there were “gaps” in IQ between racial groups was protested by students, as 1,200 peopled signed a petition to remove him from his position funded by the Leverhulme Trust. In a 2020 interview with The Daily Campus he stated that he didn’t “understand how certain ideas become taboo”.

On February 29th 2024 students across the university gathered outside the Faculty of Philosophy to protest for the termination of Cofnas from his position at the university.

Protestors marched to the Cambridge Student Service Centre to lodge complaints but found the doors locked, being told that this would not be possible.

However, Emmanuel College’s Faculty of Philosophy has recently reported to Varsity that on April 5th, a letter was sent to Cofnas to terminate his research affiliation with the college.

The letter states that: “The Committee first considered the meaning of the blog and concluded that it amounted to, or could reasonably be construed as amounting to, a rejection of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI and EDI) policies.”

It goes on to state that the ideas promoted by the blog represent “a challenge to the College’s core values and mission”.

This contradicts the initial response of Doug Chalmers, master of Emmanuel College, when the blog posts emerged in February, as he wrote to students that he “acknowledged” Mr Cofnas’ right to freedom of speech, writing that “we retain our commitment to freedom of thought and expression”.

The university and the Leverhulme Trust are now conducting ongoing investigations into Mr Cofnas.

Nathan Cofnas has been contacted but declined to comment.

Nathan Cofnas also claimed in a podcast uploaded to YouTube that the university was aware of his “controversial interests” before he was hired.

Other academics at the university have commented on Cofnas’ views. Dr Bronwen Everill, Director of the university’s Centre for African Studies, expressed that the employment of Cofnas is “like having a flat earther on the physics faculty”.

Cofnas has stepped down from his teaching and examining responsibilities after facing large amounts of backlash, but is still employed by the Faculty of Philosophy as a researcher.

Emmanuel College has been contacted for comment.

Feature image credits: Nathan Cofnas via X

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