Ben HaywardJuly 22nd
2020

A university lecturer who was fired after making sweeping statements about a number of different groups, has claimed he is the victim of ‘woke’ culture.  

Stephen Lamonby, a part-time engineering lecturer, was sacked by Solent University in Southampton after stating ‘Jewish people are the cleverest in the world’, ‘Germans are good engineers’ and that he had ‘a soft spot’ for young black men because many of them have absent fathers, reports The Independent. 

Mr Lamonby appealed the decision at an employment tribunal, saying his comments could not be considered racist because he was using ‘positive’ stereotypes of particular groups and declaring himself a victim of ‘woke’ culture, however his claim of unfair dismissal has been rejected by a judge.

solent2FEATUREDIMAGE

The 73-year-old reportedly made the controversial statements during a meeting with his course leader, Dr Janet Bonar, in March 2019, the tribunal heard. 

Mr Lamonby was speaking with Dr Bonar in the university canteen when he told her he believed people from different parts of the world to be good at certain things due to ‘high exposure’.

Dr Bonar says that Mr Lamonby claimed Germans are ‘good at engineering’ because they’re ‘exposed to a high level of industry from an early stage in their lives’ and asserted that Jewish people had ‘a particular gift’ for the subject.

engineerFEATUREDIMAGE

The remarks were then investigated by the university after Dr Bonar complained about his use of racial and national stereotypes.

When questioned by the university authorities, Mr Lamonby defended his comments, saying: “I have come to believe that certain nationalities have developed a higher level of skill in some areas.”

During a final disciplinary hearing he admitted using ‘clumsy’ language but is also reported to have referred to Jewish people as having ‘neurological differences’. Mr Lamonby was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The employment tribunal, which took place in Bristol, found that the university had a duty to its student body to protect them from potential acts of racism, rejecting the claim of unfair dismissal.

tribunalFEATUREDIMAGE

Presiding, Judge C H O’Rourke said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I find that it is clearly at least potentially racist to group nationalities, races, ethnic or religious groups, by entire categories and to ascribe certain abilities or talents (or the opposite) to them, when, of course, as with any such group, talents or abilities will vary wildly from individual to individual.”

Mr Lamonby responded to say he would be appealing the verdict, adding: “You can’t make any comments [in universities] now because they are totally obsessed with racism.”

Speaking to The Independent, a Solent University spokesperson said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this hearing and its reflection of Solent’s commitment to our university values and to promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity for everyone who works and studies with us.”

TOTUM More For Less Banner

TOTUM is the #1 student discount card and app giving you access to exclusive student deals on food and fashion, tech and travel and everything in between.

In store and online, TOTUM puts all the best student coupons, vouchers and discounts right where you want them - in your pocket.

Stories like this