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ARB distances itself from email gaffes

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ARB said leaked emails, which included an attack on RIBA president Angela Brady, were ‘not sent on its behalf or as part of any of its activities’

The ARB has released a statement regarding emails mistakenly sent to the AJ by ARB board members in which Stephen Lawrence Trust-backed candidates were described as ‘the ethnics’.

The organisation said the private emails, which included an attack on RIBA president Angela Brady for supporting candidates Lisa Basu and Kirk Ray Morrison, were ‘not sent on its behalf or as part of any of its activities’.

A spokesperson added: ‘The reported content and tenor of the emails is reflective neither of the way that ARB conducts itself nor the way that the ARB Board conducts its business.’

ARB Chair Beatrice Fraenkel said: ‘I am appalled that reported comments from Board members may have led to any suggestion that ARB does not subscribe to the highest principles of equality and diversity.’

Two separate emails were sent in error to the AJ by ARB Reform Group members George Oldham, who steps down from the board next month, and Ruth Brennan, who is seeking re-election to the board for another three-year term.

Oldham, an original member of the group set up in 2006 to ‘define and restrict’ the ARB’s powers, said in his email: ‘Brady’s support for the “ethnics” is as inappropriate and irrelevant as is to be expected from her. ‘

Brennan added: ‘Is Ms Brady the worst ever RIBA president? I think she might be. What a prat. A plague on the RIBA indeed – at least us at the ARB are acting in a professional manner.’

Voting in the ARB elections, which has been overshadowed by a battle between the seven ARB Reform Group candidates and the four RIBA-backed contenders, closes at midday on 1 March.

The ARB statement in full

Reports in the 23 February edition of the Architects’ Journal refer to comments reported to have been made by two of the current elected members of the ARB Board. The report indicates that the comments were made in private emails in the context of the forthcoming election to the Board.

ARB wishes to record that the reported emails were not sent on its behalf or as part of any of its activities. The reported content and tenor of the emails is reflective neither of the way that ARB conducts itself nor the way that the ARB Board conducts its business.

ARB as an organisation has never expressed any views as to the relative merits of candidates for election, any endorsements they may seek or the Board members chosen by architects through the election process. It continues to be inappropriate for ARB to do so.

The views reported to have been expressed do not represent the views of the Architects Registration Board.

ARB Chair Beatrice Fraenkel said: ‘ARB is committed to equality of opportunity, and that must encompass membership of our Board.  I am appalled that reported comments from Board members may have led to any suggestion that ARB does not subscribe to the highest principles of equality and diversity.  ARB welcomes initiatives to improve equal access to the profession. ARB and RIBA have worked constructively together in the interests of the public and architects.’  

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Readers' comments (2)

  • It's far more fatuous to suggest that ARB should be held responsible for its Board Members' individual views.

    Peter Arnold

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  • I remember that 3 years ago Sunand Prasad, as President of the RIBA, exhorted us to vote for these people. The fact that these people are on the ARB Board is of the RIBA's making. ARB must work with who we the profession vote in. We can hardly blame the ARB for these shenanigans without blaming the RIBA.

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