Cambridge fight

June 5, 1998

Readers may recall (Antithesis, May 22) the edifying spectacle of top Cambridge University academics attacking campaigning colleague Gill Evans in the public forum of a Senate House debate.

The dons refused to accept the arbitration of QC Sir Brian Neill, who had proposed a "sensible and fair" way forward in Dr Evans's dispute with the university over staff promotions. Instead AUT representative and council member June Whitehead said Evans has "behaved very badly" and "her work has been in no way valuable". One academic, R. Browning, objected to Sir Brian's "weasel words", and another, council member Dr C. Morley, attacked Sir Brian's "superfluous flannelly phrases about goodwill". Curiously, none of Dr Evans's public attackers have agreed to repeat any of their statements, despite invitations from Radio Four's World Tonight. More curiously, the Cambridge University Reporter this week includes an unprecedented addition. "After taking legal advice, the council have agreed exceptionally to authorise the publication of the following statement by Dr Evans in response to remarks made at the discussion on 12 May, 1998." Dr Evans, allowed almost three pages of the Reporter to defend herself, concluded: "A member of the Regent House has been put in the stocks and pelted with the rotten eggs of hatred and resentment. That is to the enduring shame of this great university."

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