In the news: Gill Evans

November 8, 2002

After a decade-long battle that has included three High Court cases, an independent inquiry and several aborted trips to the employment tribunal, Cambridge University lecturer Gill Evans has finally been promoted to a professorship of medieval logic.

Cambridge is due to confirm next week that Dr Evans has won the title nearly ten years after she first wrote to the then vice-chancellor complaining that she was overdue for promotion - at least to a readership. After being rejected for promotion year after year, she argued that her high-profile attacks on Cambridge's management and governance, combined with an "outdated and secretive" promotions system, had all but ruled out a fair hearing of her case.

Cambridge insisted this week that its promotions systems were "fair and transparent" and that Dr Evans had been treated fairly.

Dr Evans was uncharacteristically coy when she admitted her promotion would "polarise" the academic community - while some hail her as a hero, fighting a David and Goliath-style battle against the establishment, some academics no longer try to disguise their contempt, accusing her of paralysing Cambridge's governance machine and draining the university's coffers with her interventions, complaints and legal cases.

Her professorship will silence the critics who whispered she was driven only by ego and her inability to accept that she was not of the right academic calibre to join the highest tables at Cambridge. One of the first things she did on hearing the news was to declare that she would now be able to "press on with the battle to get fair treatment for all the university's staff and students".

As policy secretary of the Campaign for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards, she has handled more than 100 cases in the past few years. She has also just qualified as a barrister, studying part time, so she can offer her legal expertise pro bono .

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