Time Has Run Out for Francis Galton at UCL

UCL Galton Lecture Theatre - plaque on door - ProfJoeCain

Francis Galton was a bad piece of work. His racist, nativist, supremacist views are antithetical to UCL’s vision and values. He is no role model for me. He should be no role model for you. Time for him to go.

I call on UCL to remove all references to Galton in our commemorative practices, such as names used on the estate and names used for our museum collections. I’ve been on this track for a while now. Anticipating this week’s publication of a report from UCL’s Investigation into the History of Eugenics at UCL, I hope we can add another heavyweight voice to this chorus. Let’s call time on Francis Galton at UCL. 

UCL has a procedure to do change the name of its spaces. It’s a bit bureaucratic. It’s purposefully deliberative. It’s not well advertised. (I had to fish it out using a freedom of information request. FWIW, I think it’s a good policy, provided the committees are populated in truly representative ways.) At the least, it gives a roadmap to follow.

I suspect the Provost can intervene over these procedures with an executive instruction. I support that. He a strong advocate against views like Galton’s, and he’s done a lot to support anti-racism.

You can help by adding your views, too. Don’t be shy. Tell them what you think.