In the news: Suresh Deman

March 21, 2003

Suresh Deman's name strikes fear into the hearts of university managers across the land. He is a UK-based, India-born finance lecturer with US citizenship, and he has about 40 separate race - and sometimes sex - discrimination cases against at least 13 UK universities on the go.

With other cases against the tribunal system, the Association of University Teachers, and the Commission for Racial Equality, even his solicitor describes him fondly as a "persistent litigant".

While he was recently criticised by one tribunal judge for having "something of a reputation for making bad applications", an attempt by the higher education sector to get the courts to block his actions have failed.

Mr Deman taught at the University of Rajasthan. In 1983, he became a teaching professor at the University of Pittsburgh, but he was sacked in 1988. He claimed racial discrimination and won £28,300.

He began a new life in the UK as a lecturer at Queen's University, Belfast, but he was sacked in 1995. He has reportedly lodged at least 23 complaints against Queen's since then, and the case has not yet been resolved.

Mr Deman became senior lecturer at the University of Greenwich in 1997, but was sacked in 1999. He made 70 individual complaints of discrimination and victimisation against the university. Last November, after a six-week hearing, an employment tribunal upheld two of the complaints and found that he was unfairly dismissed and awarded him £43,000.

Other claims relate to failed job applications - where he fears his name is so widely known that universities automatically discriminate against him - or to allegations that he is not given proper assistance.

"The secret of my success is persistence," said the 49-year-old, who is married, has an eight-year-old daughter and now lives in southeast London.

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