I represented Anthony Agathangelou in his hearing on behalf of Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards alongside a senior Association of University Teachers representative. Janet Walker knows that the disciplinary tribunal dismissed early in the hearing many of the allegations on which he was suspended, and that the same tribunal spoke disapprovingly of the manner in which Nene College had behaved towards Dr Agathangelou.
In its judgement the tribunal also censured the university's conduct of the investigation, which involved casting doubt with the Lord Chancellor's Department and others on the very existence of his publications. It suggested that that should now be put right by letter. I heard the university's representatives attack Dr Agathangelou's integrity at the hearing in terms which the tribunal also rejected.
This case raises enormously important issues. The allegation that Dr Agathangelou had breached confidentiality by raising concerns about the quality of the research with the LCD was dismissed at the outset by the tribunal. The Public Interest Disclosure Act ought to protect against that kind of attempt to silence those concerned about standards. It remains to be seen how strong its teeth will be. A whistleblower in a university is challenging a large and powerful organisation that is likely to try to hit back.
G.R. Evans. Faculty of history. University of Cambridge