UCL Campaign


UCL launches inquiry into history of Eugenics

Iyioka Solanke

Professor Iyioka Solanke, Independent Chair of the UCL Commission of Inquiry


Hello! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Professor Iyiola Solanke, and I am the independent Chair of the UCL Commission of Inquiry into the history of eugenics at UCL. The Commission was established by President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur in 2017 in response to student concerns across a spectrum of issues from the low number of Black professors to the hosting of a conference on intelligence at UCL. Its remit is to explore the past, present and future of the relationship between UCL and the ideas of eugenics. Members of the Commission are drawn from across UCL and include student and staff representatives.

The Commission began its work in November 2018 and will produce its final report by July 2019. We therefore have just 6 months to complete this important work. In order to reach the highest numbers in as many parts of the UCL community as possible during this time, we will adopt a variety of methods including open meetings, focus groups and online surveys. Experts will also be invited to give evidence to the Commission. However, we also want to hear from and engage with you - the UCL community around the globe.

On behalf of the Commission, I would therefore like to warmly invite you to be an active part of the Inquiry. We would like to know about the environment when you were at UCL - were you or any of your friends formally or informally taught about or exposed to eugenics or ideas associated with eugenics? Please share any stories and recollections with the Commission by sending them to eugenics.inquiry@ucl.ac.uk. All information received will be handled in compliance with data protection law in the UK.

The input of your experiences will form an important part of our work and help us to understand the extent to which the ideas of eugenics informed and influenced the teaching and learning environment at UCL in the past and the impact of this. Together with contemporary evidence from the surveys, forums and open meetings, this will inform and shape our recommendations to Professor Michael Arthur on what needs to be done to strengthen UCL’s status as a global university that genuinely belongs to all who study and work here.