Independent question

October 11, 2002

In responding to my complaints about Luton University appointment procedures (Whistleblowers, THES , September ), pro vice-chancellor Tim Boatswain quotes a Bedford employment tribunal judgment and implies that this provides exoneration (Letters, THES , October 4).

His logic is surprising. I brought a claim for wrongful dismissal against Luton and won. The tribunal ruled that my parallel claim for unfair dismissal, which raised questions about my job application, was out of time and therefore it was not heard.

The words Boatswain cites are part of a different case, bought by a different lecturer.

Boatswain asserts that my complaints are "unsubstantiated". But he knows that I have sent a full dossier of supporting documents to the university, The THES , the higher education funding council, Luton Natfhe and Kelvin Hopkins MP, among others.

Finally, Boatswain reports that "an independent inquiry by chair of governors David Docherty" has cleared the university of any malpractice in my case, but how significant is this? I was not asked to give evidence to Docherty's inquiry and the final report makes no reference to which witnesses were called or what documentation was examined. When the most senior figure in an institution organises an inquiry into that institution, can it be called independent? I doubt that Lord Nolan or Investors in People would approve.

Nick Tiratsoo
Former professor of history
University of Luton

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