College investigated head of curriculum’s racist tweets yet he kept his job until FE Week started asking questions
A curriculum head at one of London’s largest colleges sent a string of racist, homophobic and abusive tweets but was allowed to keep his job despite an internal investigation.
Glen Maybury, who was head of leisure, health and public services at the City of Westminster College, used his personal Twitter account to make a number of unpleasant public posts, as well as retweeting a number of Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments made by others, for several years.
According to the college’s senior leadership, a disciplinary investigation was launched in May this year after other members of staff made complaints about Mr Maybury’s conduct.
However, while the former curriculum lead is no longer an employee at the college, evidence seen by FE Week appears to prove that he had been allowed to return to his full-time role until at least September 7 this year, almost exactly around the time that this paper got in touch.
Senior staff were told suddenly on September 8 that Mr Maybury would be leaving at “lunchtime”, just a couple of hours after FE Week rang the college, anonymous whistleblowers have said.
These same sources confirmed that Mr Maybury had been seen in college this month, though its principal Keith Cowell insisted that this would just have been while he packed up his desk.
“I can confirm to you that he is not an employee at the college. He may have been in college to hand over and pick up personal effects. I don’t know what his movements are, but he is not employed by us,” said Mr Cowell.
When pressed as to whether Mr Maybury was no longer an employee of the college on the morning of September 8, Mr Cowell replied: “Yes. Yes. That’s what I said.”
Graphic tweets sent by Mr Maybury, seen by FE Week, include him insulting other Twitter users with comments like “you f****** r*****asaurus c***” and “you p***o”, as well as slurs against London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Jewish people, and offensive images of black people and genitalia, which were posted from 2013 to 2015.
The City of Westminster College, which has 7,000 students at two sites in Paddington and Queen’s Park in north London, is ethnically diverse, with 17 per cent of students coming from an Asian background, seven per cent from an Arab background, and 26 per cent from an African, black or Caribbean background.
“When these types of action take place in an institution that is meant to prevent discrimination, radicalisation and promote British values, how can these students have faith in the system?” asked the whistleblowers, speaking to FE Week.
Mr Cowell admitted that a disciplinary process had been launched earlier this year to investigate the incidents, and confirmed that this was “concluded in July”. The principal insisted that he could not confirm the outcome of the investigation owing to “data protection” issues.
Despite this, one source told FE Week that Mr Maybury had been working in his usual role from the start of term on August 23, at least until September 7 and possibly even on the morning of September 8.
This claim is backed up by an email sent to staff and seen by FE Week, which shows a “Glen Maybury” discussing college matters from an official account on September 8 – possibly indicating that any disciplinary procedure that had been carried out by the college earlier this year had indeed not led to him losing his job.
Lyndon Sly, the director for culture, media and sport – whose department Mr Maybury belonged to – also called for an emergency staff meeting on a “private” matter which was scheduled for the morning of September 9, FE Week can confirm.
Mr Cowell told FE Week that staff were confused about the situation surrounding Mr Maybury’s position.
“What I’m saying is it’s perfectly feasible that he might have been in the building,” he said. “But your contacting today has been useful as far as that’s concerned, because it seems we were unaware that there was confusion on the issue.
“If there is a sense of confusion we can certainly clarify that with the relevant staff.”