Unwelcome Guest

Students at Northwestern want controversial visiting scholar who muses on
race, intelligence and beauty, and who has been accused by colleagues of
"bad science," off their campus.
By Colleen Flaherty <>
December 19, 2018

Satoshi Kanazawa

“Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?”
Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”
and “What’s Wrong With Muslims?”
titles may read like some of Reddit’s worst hits. But they’re real articles
written by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist and reader in
management at the London School of Economics and Political Science -- and
current guest scholar at Northwestern University

Kanazawa has quietly been on campus in Evanston, Ill., for a semester
already. But many Northwestern students who were unaware of his presence
until recently say they don’t want him there anymore.

“Kanazawa's fraud research and studies reflects modern eugenics, and
Northwestern should be ashamed of approving his application to conduct
research in Evanston,” reads a petition
started by one Northwestern undergraduate that’s gathered more than 4,000
signatures in a few days. “If Northwestern is serious about its mission to
help create and sustain a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for
all Northwestern community members including students, faculty, staff and
alumni, Kanazawa's approved request should be overturned, and denied.”

The petition asks that the psychology department revamp its screening
process for visiting scholars -- and it already unanimously agreed to do
so, according to a statement
by Jonathan Holloway, provost and professor of history and African American
studies. Describing the program's old vetting process for visiting scholars
as “weak,” Holloway said that “the department was unaware of Kanazawa’s
controversial views or his flawed scholarship.”

He added, “I applaud this change, and I expect this same level of basic
rigor to be applied in every department at the university.”

But Holloway said that Kanazawa will remain on campus until the end of his
appointment, at the end of the academic year.

While the university “is firmly committed to diversity, equity and
inclusion,” Holloway said, at a “comprehensive research university, there
will unfortunately be occasions when offensive ideas emerge and when people
advance arguments that run afoul of well-established, peer-reviewed
research findings.”

In meantime, he said, Kanazawa’s “scholarship presents ideas that are
antithetical to values that Northwestern holds dear.”

Holloway said that Kanazawa is a visiting scholar on sabbatical with less
than year left at Northwestern, and that he isn’t teaching, “collecting
research data, or getting paid.” And like “all guest research scholars, he
is entitled to express his personal views, including on his personal web
pages, as long as he does not represent such opinions as the views of the

To that point, he said that Kanazawa “has made clear that his opinions are
his own.” Holloway added, “I believe that personally held views, no matter
how odious, cannot be a reason to undermine the vital principle of
intellectual freedom that all academic institutions serve to protect.”

The statement is similar to one the London School of Economics released
when Kanazawa published his essay on black women’s attractiveness in 2011,
in *Psychology Today*. "The views expressed by this academic are his own
and do not in any way represent those of [the school] as an institution,"
it said at the time. “The important principle of academic freedom means
that authors have the right to publish their views -- but it also means the
freedom to disagree.”

The school did say it was investigating the matter. It eventually
prohibited Kanazawa from publishing in any non-peer-reviewed journal
a year. But he remained a faculty member.

*Psychology Today* removed the blog post, in which Kanazawa wrote that the
“race differences in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially
explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other
races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive
than men of other races."

To the extent black woman are devalued by society, many scholars say that
racism is at play, not hormones. Kanazawa has made other controversial
assertions, such as that intelligent people are more likely to be gay
and that feminism is "evil

Kanazawa did not respond to a request for comment. Multiple members of the
psychology department did not respond to requests for comment, or referred
questions to their chair, who also did not respond to a request for comment.

Via email, Bob Rowley, university spokesperson, underscored that Kanazawa
is not a visiting professor, but “a guest scholar spending time here on his
sabbatical. He has a desk and access to the library. He is not teaching, he
is not doing research and he is not being paid. He asked to come and we

Rowley said the department’s old vetting procedure for guest scholars did
not require a faculty discussion or vote. Now, a personnel committee will
review candidates on a preliminary basis, followed by a full department
faculty review and vote.

CBS 2 Chicago reported
that professors said in an internal departmental email that they were
“blindsided” by Kanazawa’s views and that “one faculty member (Mike Bailey)
agreed to host Kanazawa …” and got two others “who were unaware of
Kanazawa's history, to co-sign and support an application.”

If Bailey’s name rings a bell, it may be because he allowed a guest sex
lecturer to use a vibrator on a naked woman
during an after-class presentation in a course in human sexuality in 2011.

Bailey did not respond to a request for comment.

Some scholars have defended Bailey's presentation as protected by academic
freedom. But dozens of Kanazawa's peers
called even his academic work "bad science."