Wall will teach in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge, and has said that he will apply to be a college supervisorDmitry Tonkonog

Cambridge’s Faculty of Mathematics has hired a lecturer who, in 2015, openly expressed homophobic sentiments on his personal blog.

Aron Wall, who will start lecturing in January 2019, wrote a post entitled “Reflections on Gay Marriage” shortly after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of legalising gay marriage, explaining why he opposed the decision.

Wall accused the “gay community” of living a “notoriously promiscuous, reckless, and obscene lifestyle”, saying that to sleep with someone of the same gender is to perform “unnatural sex acts”.

“Those who seek to normalize gay relationships should start by taking a long and hard look at previous cultures in which it was culturally tolerated for many generations, and ask whether they would really want to live in a society like those”, he added, before concluding that gay marriage “hurts only the gay couple themselves, and anyone who cares about their well-being.”

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In the comments section of another post on his blog, written in March 2015, Wall remarked on the gender transitioning process, saying, “I think the wholesome and psychologically-integrated thing to do is accept the body which God actually gave us”, adding, “trying to be somebody completely different is not the right way to fix body image problems”.

“It’s not politically correct to find this procedure disgusting, but again on any objective standard I think it really is”, he added.

Following the publication of this article, Wall deleted both of the posts in question of off his blog.

The CUSU LGBT+ campaign president, Alistair Hyde, said that the appointment raised the question of whether those involved in the hiring process were “careful or thorough enough” when considering the “actions and writings” of appointed staff when these “run contrary to the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion”.

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The University’s commitment to equality states that it is “committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture, and values diversity.”

A University spokesperson, speaking on behalf of the Faculty of Maths, said of the appointment only that “all employees are subject to University policies and procedures from their first day in post, and are expected to uphold our values.”

However, when asked whether the faculty knew of Wall’s views in advance of offering him a position, a University spokesperson said that they could “not comment on individual employment issues.”

Wall specialises in black hole thermodynamics, and is currently a research scientist at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics.

He has applied to join a college, meaning he could be supervising students next year, and may be involved in the pastoral side of college life.

Wall did not respond to Varsity’s request for comment.


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Jonathan Birtwell, one of the LGBT+ campaign’s graduate and mature student officers, said that as supervisor/student relations at the graduate level are “very close”, LGBT+ students “may find it difficult to interact in this proximity to someone espousing very homophobic views”.

Hyde added that he felt these relations at the undergraduate level would also be difficult: “It would be inappropriate to pair an LGBT+ student with a supervisor known to be prejudiced against members of this particular marginalised group”.

Paulina Sliwa and Joe Sutcliff Sanders, equality and diversity officers at the Cambridge branch of the University and College Union (UCU), stated that while “religious views are a protected characteristic under UK employment law”, the members of the Cambridge UCU executive committee “call on the University and the Faculty of Mathematics to distance themselves from the opinions expressed by Dr Wall”.

Speaking of the role of students in drawing attention to Wall’s appointment, Hyde stated that “it is important for staff responsible for hiring to see that students will demand safeguarding policies when and if people are hired that are openly homophobic or prejudiced against marginalised groups”.

He added that the CUSU LGBT+ campaign are working to “gain assurance” from the Faculty of Maths to ensure there are safe spaces for LGBT+ students, and that there are plans in place to deal with any discrimination that may arise.

  • Updated 5.07am, 22nd July 2018: This article was updated to include the fact that the two posts mentioned had been taken down, and to provide links to their cached versions.