April 21 2014 Latest news:
by Adam Barnett
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A senior lecturer at Newham College has been sacked after he was recorded making homophobic comments on tape by fellow teachers.
Head of performing arts Mark Walcott was suspended in November after the recording was posted online by staff who were frustrated that no action had been taken against him.
The recording is thought to be from January 2012 after which staff raised their concerns with the college top brass.
The release prompted the college to launch an internal investigation, during which principal Denise Browne-Sackey is on a “leave of absence”.
Today a spokesman for the college declined to comment on her future with the college.
In a statement, the college said: “Following the online publication of a recording in which Mark Walcott expressed views wholly unacceptable to us, Newham College formally suspended Mr Walcott with effect from November 25.
“On December 9 the college formally terminated its relationship with Mr Walcott through his company Stratford MADA.”
It adds: “Newham College’s mission, policies and ethos are all firmly rooted in equality of opportunity, and it will not tolerate the College being used to express views that are contrary to this.”
In the 50-minute recording, Dr Walcott is heard saying: “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 is also heard claiming he has asked gay teachers to leave schools in the past and that he believes gay teachers’ sexuality can stop them doing their jobs properly.
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has been following the case for over a year, said: “The sacking of Mark Walcott does not close the issue.
“The college must explain why staff complaints about his behaviour over a year ago were not properly dealt with.”
He said Dr Walcott was allowed to stay in his post for a year without disciplinary action being taken, and called for an independent inquiry into this decision and allegations of mismanagement at the college.