Peter Tatchell: Newham College seems to have ignored concerns about anti-gay lecturer Mark Walcott
An east London college has been accused of failing to address staff concerns regarding a senior arts lecturer who compared gay teachers to the Ku Klux Klan and admitted that he held “prejudices about people who are homosexual”.
In a recording posted on YouTube, Dr Mark Walcott, head of performing arts at Newham College and a part-time psychotherapist, is heard claiming that he had asked gay teachers to leave schools in the past and believes gay teachers’ sexuality can stop them doing their jobs properly.
During the recording, made during last year, 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.”
The college confirmed that its principal, Denise Brown-Sackey, had stepped aside pending the investigation.
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Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk on Friday, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell warned that the action wasn’t enough.
Mr Tatchell said: “I was alerted to the allegations against Newham College in 2012. I was under the impression that they’d been dealt with and resolved. This clearly never happened.
“The college says it is setting up an investigation. This is not good enough, given its past failing to address these issues. There needs to be a completely independent inquiry by an external body that has no links to the college.
“The accusations involve much more than a homophobic rant and collusion with homophobia. They also involve allegations of racism, nepotism and cover-up. Complaints were made against the college in 2012 and they appear to have been sat on.
“The fact that Newham College was highly rated by Stonewall as a gay-friendly employer shows that some institutions tick all the right equality boxes but don’t deliver equality in practice.”
“When the original complaints were made in 2012, the college refused to suspend or discipline Mark Walcott. It dismissed all the allegations; claiming there was no case to answer.”
He added: “It is alleged that the performing arts staff team – some of whom had made complaints – were, in effect, eased out over the following months.”
PinkNews has approached Newham College for comment regarding Mr Tatchell’s claims and is awaiting a response.