Lecturer wins a second hearing

February 27, 1998

YORK University must open a second grievance inquiry into procedures for promoting academic staff following a recommendation from the lord chancellor.

The lord chancellor looked into complaints against the university on behalf of its visitor, the Queen.

York's governing council met this week to consider its response to the visitor's report, which found fault in the university's handling of a grievance case brought by economics lecturer Paul Burrows.

Dr Burrows brought the grievance case against the university last year after persistently failing to win promotion over five years. He complained that York's procedures for promoting academic staff were unfair and secretive, a source close to the dispute said.

A grievance committee was set up to look into his case and to review promotions procedures. The committee did not find in Dr Burrows's favour, so he petitioned York's visitor, the Queen.

The university has refused to release the visitor's report, submitted to both parties this January. The university has confirmed that the report included a "determination" that the university should convene a new grievance committee to reinvestigate.

A spokeswoman from York said: "The university council agreed to set up a new grievance committee to examine Dr Burrows's case in the light of the lord chancellor's report. The problem was a procedural matter, not an academic one. The lord chancellor said it wasn't his place to comment on academic matters, but picked up on a procedural point."

Dr Burrows said he was "happy that the university had followed the requirements of the lord chancellor", but he would not comment until his second grievance case was complete.

A spokeswoman for the Campaign for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards said: "We are very pleased with the university for agreeing to go along with the visitor's recommendation."

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