Students complain about “climate change denier”, “anti-LGBTQ” guest lecturer

College says that content on a site which is linked in lecture slides is “not being published in his capacity as a guest lecturer”

The School of Engineering has declined to act on complaints over the conduct of a guest lecturer in one of its modules.

Several senior sophister students raised concerns about Tony Allwright, who gives two of the 11 lectures in the Management for Engineers module, which is mandatory for all engineers in fourth year.

Allwright’s slide deck for his lectures include links to his personal website, where he posts content described by the complainants as “climate change denier”, “incredibly anti-LGBTQ in general”, “anti-trans“, and “anti-vaxxer”.

Professor Henry Rice, head of the School of Engineering, said that he raised the issue “with the College solicitor”.

Prof Rice said that the solicitor had advised that “Mr Allwright’s personal views are not being communicated as part of his lectures….and they are not being published in his capacity as a guest lecturer in Trinity.”

“In addition, Mr Allwright has read the College policies on social media and on dignity and respect.”

Notably, Allwright posts frequently on the linked website about what he calls “global warmology“ and “global warm-mongering hysteria”, expressing his scepticism about human-caused climate change.

His lectures to Trinity engineers each year concern safety management in industry, including the prevention and handling of environmental disasters on oil rigs, a field in which he worked for many years.

Allwright’s other blog posts include criticism of Irish media for being “Pro LBGT [sic]”, “Pro divorce”, “Pro Islam” and “Pro Atheism”.

Allwright also criticises media depictions of “diversity”, which he says is “non-white people being mixed up with white people and everyone blissfully happy, with the local kebab shops and curry houses doing a roaring trade, reggae bands blaring their stuff and spliff butts all over the pavement”.

Another section of the website, entitled “light relief”, includes lists of “Jewish jokes” and comics with caricatures of Black African people.

The students’ complaints also referenced Allwright’s Twitter account. This account is not linked from his website or lecture materials but is the first result returned from a Google search of his name.

The account features tweets and retweets spreading misinformation about Covid, including what Allwright describes as the “uselessness of masks”.

Allwright also frequently praises the “pro-family” policies of Hungary’s government as an alternative to “foreign immigration” and “suck[ing] in aliens”. Hungary’s “pro-family” policies have been criticised by groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and numerous other countries for violating the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people.

Responding to Prof Rice’s final email, a complainant noted the links to Allwright’s website at the bottom of each slide used for his lectures, “which at least in my opinion constitutes him bringing his reprehensible views into the lectures”.

They continued: “It is hard to guarantee evidence-based teaching…How are we to know that he didn’t let his obvious racism affect how he handled employee safety when the employee in question was a minority?”

Speaking to Trinity News, one of the students who submitted a complaint said: “Trinity should be vetting guest lecturers before they teach.”

“The stuff we found on this lecturer was literally the second and third results when you type his name into Google, and we found enough to make us feel sick.”

Trinity News has reached out to Allwright and the School of Engineering for comment, but had not received a response at time of publication.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a link to Mr Allwright’s website appears on every slide in his lecture presentations. In fact, a link to the website appears on the title slide, while only the logo of the website is repeated on every subsequent slide. Trinity News apologises for the error.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.