University lecturer gets the sack after claiming ‘Jewish people are cleverest’

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Stephen Lamonby, 73, claimed his comments were not racist or offensive because he was using “positive stereotypes”. He also said he “had a soft spot” for young black men because they are “underprivileged and need all the help they can get”, it was said. An employment tribunal heard the controversial remarks were made during a meeting with Dr Janet Bonar, his course leader at Solent University in Southampton.

The pair had been talking in the university canteen in March 2019.

Mr Lamonby, who had worked at Solent as a part-time associate lecturer for six years, is also said to have claimed that “Germans are good at engineering” as they are “exposed to a high level of industry from an early stage in their lives.”

During their discussion, Dr Bonar mentioned she had a degree in physics. Mr Lamonby is said to have reacted by claiming Jewish people had “a particular gift” for the subject and asked Dr Bonar if she was Jewish. The lecturer took offence to this and said that Mr Lamonby was a racist.

He is said to have replied: “I believe that the Jewish are the cleverest people in the world. They are much maligned because of it.

“I asked if you were Jewish because of your ability with maths and physics.Which is a speciality of theirs.”

Vice Chancellor Julie Hall, who chaired the hearing, said Mr Lamonby did not understand that what he had said was offensive. He was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The tribunal, which was held in Bristol, concluded that the university had a duty to its “multicultural, predominantly young student body” to protect them from potential acts of racism.

It dismissed his claims of unfair dismissal and breach of contract. During a final disciplinary hearing he eventually admitted he had “been clumsy” in his language and “apologised profoundly”, saying he had no intention of being racist.

Following the ruling, Mr Lamonby said he would be appealing, claiming he was a victim of a “woke” culture.

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