UCC Students’ Union has expressed “shock and disappointment” at the decision by UCC management to name a new building on campus after Dr James Watson.
In a letter issued to UCC President, Dr. Michael Murphy, Aidan Coffey, UCC Students’ Union President, has stated that “a character who professed views regarding race, gender and sexuality so out of keeping with the standards and expectations of us in the University should not be recognised with one of the highest honours that this institution can confer”.
Whilst acknowledging that ‘exceptional scientific records and achievements should be celebrated and acknowledged in their own right and in their own sphere’, Coffey claimed that “we in UCC should set different standards for our own honours, and we have the freedom and indeed the responsibility to decide the point at which racial prejudice overshadows scientific prowess; to decide the point at which a clearly demonstrated scholarly and academic brilliance cannot excuse alienating and incompatible social view.”
Coffey urged that management reconsider their decision and stated that “each and every building on our fine campus should reflect and echo an ethos of respect to which each and every student, staff member and visitor should aspire to. The naming of this building falls far short of this.”
Read the full letter here.