Oldham issued with reprimand over 'ethnics' email
Architect pledges to ‘continue to fight against the Arb’
An architect found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct over an email in which he referred to Arb election candidates as “the ethnics” has been issued with a reprimand.
George Oldham was forced to resign from the Arb board after a leaked email emerged in which he used the term when referring to RIBA president Angela Brady’s endorsement of Stephen Lawrence Trust candidates for the elections.
Oldham claimed he had intended to “lampoon” what he saw as an inappropriate choice on the grounds of race and stressed that the email was not meant to be made public.
But the Arb’s professional conduct committee decided Oldham’s email was “contrary to his obligations to maintain the reputation of the architects’ profession”.
A reprimand was the least severe sanction available to the Arb, which decided against more serious penalties such as a fine, suspension or removal from the architects’ register.
Responding to the decision, Oldham told BD he had decided against an earlier pledge in which he vowed to take legal action over the committee’s ruling.
He said: “I have been advised by my solicitors that a judicial review should stand every chance of succeeding. However, I am not in a position to risk the heavy costs.
“I shall, of course, continue to fight against the Arb, not simply on my own behalf, but also on behalf of those others who have and are similarly suffering persecution.”
The Arb committee noted that while there were no allegations of racism, Oldham’s comments were “capable of adverse interpretation” and “showed disrespect” to the candidates to whom he referred.