A point of law

November 7, 2003

When Stephen Rose said Oxford University had "over-reacted" and meted out a "wholly disproportionate punishment" with regard to suspending Andrew Wilkie, what he and many of his academic colleagues fail to understand is that blatant discrimination such as this is against the law ("Oxford rapped over Wilkie", THES , October 31).

Neither does the Oxford University Student Union agree with Rose, because "it is disappointed that the university is not taking the lead in requiring every member of university and college staff to undergo equal-opportunities training so that a damaging situation like this is never repeated".

Every university has a statutory duty to train its staff to act properly with regard to equal opportunities and racial discrimination and ensure that they act within the law. Oxford did what it had to do to stay within the law, but it is also sending out a message to staff that unacceptable behaviour will bring the university into disrepute.

Ronnie Fraser
Barnet College, London

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