Lancaster tutor files grievance

November 26, 1999

The University of Lancaster has failed to prevent harassment of women staff and students by a group of unruly football players, according to senior tutor Caroline Giles.

Ms Giles this week instigated formal grievance procedures against the university for failing to protect her from harassment.

It followed an incident in the Cartmel College bar six weeks ago in which a group of men hurled abuse at Ms Giles, who runs the bar, and five female student bar staff, who refused to serve them because they objected to their ritualistic chanting.

"It was the most humiliating thing I have ever experienced. I was trying hard not to cry and I could feel my colleague trembling. One (member of bar staff) was physically sick afterwards, and two are undergoing counselling. I can't sleep. It really was a horrendous public humiliation," said Ms Giles.

She complained to the university, naming seven students. Last week the university decided the seven should not face a disciplinary committee. Deputy dean Jean Machell said there was insufficient evidence that the men involved included the seven named by Ms Giles.

The students were identified from photographs by another member of bar staff who was working that evening. However, the university requires more than one witness to identify the men. Ms Giles said she was asked to send just one witness since any more would amount to collusion.

Ms Giles said: "The police came the following Friday and said in future I should call them. But the university's policy is to deal with it internally.

"I firmly believe that my employer failed to support me. A criminal offence was committed and the university has not dealt with it. I hope that they will protect me by installing a panic button and CCTV," she added.

"I think this whole culture of males on the rampage is being condoned. Universities are about more than getting a degree - we are here to educate people into citizenship."

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