Stonewall has defended placing Newham College in a list of Britain’s top gay friendly employers, even though the college’s principal was recently forced to step down due to the homophobic remarks of disgraced lecturer Dr Mark Walcott.
On Friday, Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “It is bizarre that Newham College has remained on Stonewall’s workplace equality index, given Mark Walcott’s sustained homophobic outburst and the fact that the college took no action against him for over a year.
“The college only took action after the whole episode was exposed in the national media.”
He added: “I am sure there are some good staff doing good things at the college.
“However, the college administration clearly failed to take proper steps to address a serious homophobic incident when it was first drawn to their attention.”
In a recording published on YouTube in November last year, Dr Walcott, former head of performing arts at Newham College and a part-time psychotherapist, was heard claiming that he had asked gay teachers to leave schools in the past and claimed gay teachers’ sexuality can stop them doing their jobs properly.
During the recording, Dr Walcott is heard to say: “You can find people that are gay… and they’re using their sexuality to stream through the way they teach the students, to boy children especially in boy schools.
“And those boys are becoming gay not because they have a gay gene but because they have gay teachers who are indoctrinating them with their gay mentality.”
Dr Walcott admitted being prejudiced and said the gay community was like the “Ku Klux Klan, the Freemasons and the Nazis” who all wanted to boost their “memberships” by “indoctrinating people”.
The recording was made by another staff member who reported them to Newham College in April 2012.
But as recently as October 2013, Dr Wallcot was still employed at the college, despite a previous 8-month internal investigation, headed by the then principal, Denise Brown-Sackey.
A new investigation into Dr Walcott’s conduct was launched, he was sacked by the college in December.
“Mark Walcott’s comments were absolutely reprehensible and he was sacked before Newham College was awarded a place in the list of Britain’s Top 100 gay-friendly employers,” Stonewall Head of Head of Workplace Simon Feeke said to PinkNews.co.uk on Friday.
He added: “One individual’s homophobia shouldn’t detract from the fantastic work that many individuals are doing to support gay staff and students. We hope that in future they will continue to take a firm line on homophobia in the workplace. By dealing with incidents like this effectively Newham College will have a chance of appearing on the 2015 list of gay-friendly employers.”
Newham College has confirmed to PinkNews.co.uk that Denise Brown-Sackey is no longer principal.