Heartless treatment

May 29, 2008

I read with interest your article on sexual relationships between academic staff and students ("Sex and the university", 22 May).

In 2005, after more than 30 years' service as an academic, I was dismissed for gross misconduct from my post as a professor of ten years' standing in a Russell Group university.

The charges all related to the help I gave to colleagues and students. One specific and "proven" charge against me was inappropriate relations with some of my PhD students. This arose from my helping two of my female PhD students in financial and personal difficulties by giving them rent-free rooms in my spacious house. I was also accused of an inappropriate relationship with a past male PhD student on the evidence of an e-mail that he had sent me (discussing a co-authored article and general chitchat), well after he had gained his doctorate, which he had signed off "Love X" (the university read e-mails on its system sent to and by me in order to obtain evidence against me). Since my dismissal, I have found it impossible to obtain another professorial post.

Name and address withheld.

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