Uni lecturer sacked after saying 'Jewish people are the cleverest in the world' and 'Germans are good engineers'

A UNI lecturer says "free speech is totally dead" after he was sacked for claiming "Jewish people are the cleverest in the world" and "Germans are good engineers".

Stephen Lamonby claimed his comments were not racist or offensive because he was using "positive stereotypes".

The 73-year-old also said he "had a soft spot" for young black men because they are 'underprivileged' and "need all the help they can get".

An employment tribunal this week heard he made the remarks during a meeting with Dr Janet Bonar, his course leader at Solent University in Southampton, Hampshire.

The pair had been having a conversation in the canteen at the university in March 2019 when Mr Lamonby, an engineer, made a series of comments.

He said that in his experience people, from different countries had become good at certain things due to "high exposure".

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

He also said: "I have a soft spot for young black males.


"I do think that they are underprivileged and many [are] without fathers [and] need all the help they can get."

During their discussion, Dr Bonar, an engineering lecturer, mentioned she had a degree in physics and Lamonby reacted by saying Jewish people had "a particular gift" for the subject.

He used Einstein as an example, before asking Dr Bonar if she was Jewish.

The lecturer took offence to this and shouted that Mr Lamonby was a racist.

In response, he said: "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."

A few hours later, Dr Bonar emailed Mr Lamonby to say that in the future, she hoped conversations they had would be focused on their studies, rather than their "widely different views on race and national characteristics",

But he replied to say he wasn't "used to being smacked down like a schoolboy" and called a racist.

After an investigation was launched, Mr Lamonby defended his comments again and gave another example of "high exposure" – of 'Eskimos being good at fishing'.

He claimed he was 'shocked' by Dr Bonar's reaction and said: "My comments were simply stating that, arising from my lifetime of experience, I have come to believe that certain nationalities have developed a higher level of skill in some areas.


"This is directly related to the level of exposure to criteria such as industry and education.

"This is not radical thinking; it is simply a view that reflects environmental privilege in general terms."

During a final disciplinary hearing he eventually admitted he had "been clumsy" in his language and "apologised profoundly".

He said he had no intention of being racist.

Despite this, he continued to make "inappropriate" comments during the hearing, referring to ethnic groups as ‘they’ and to Jews having "neurological differences".

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 following the tribunal, which was held in Bristol.

Officials at the hearing concluded that the university had a duty to its "multi-cultural, predominantly young student body" to protect them from potential acts of racism, and dismissed his claims of unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

A judge 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."

Following the ruling, Mr Lamonby said he would be appealing, claiming he was a victim of a "woke" culture and that universities are "totally obsessed with racism".

"I think the judgement came down to the fact the judge was a woke judge," he said.

"You can't make any comments [in universities] now because they are totally obsessed with racism and to talk about Jews in the context of racism is crazy because they are not even a race, they are an ethnicity.

"Free speech is totally dead in universities."

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