Leicester recants

February 11, 2000

Leicester University has withdrawn a "trumped-up" formal disciplinary warning against whistleblower Andrew Colman, following The THES's reports that colleagues think he is being victimised.

Dr Colman, a reader in psychology, has been engaged in a long dispute with the university over its procedures for promoting academic staff. His complaints against the university, which has repeatedly promoted less well qualified candidates over him, have embarrassed Leicester considerably.

They brought Leicester a rebuke from the Queen, who, as the university's visitor, criticised it for taking almost a year to respond to Dr Colman's complaints. Leicester also fell foul of the Data Protection Act for not giving Dr Colman, who has a grievance case against the university, proper access to his files.

In October last year, Dr Colman's head of department, Anne Colley, gave him a formal verbal warning for not preparing exam questions "in a timely and appropriate manner".

The THES revealed at the time that the examinations officer had requested the questions late and apologised for "the short notice". Dr Colman had been given fewer than five days to deliver the questions while he was engaged with admissions. But he still delivered the questions three days before the exam was scheduled. Colleagues called the charge "trumped-up" and "vindictive".

After an appeal by Dr Colman, Leicester's pro vice-chancellor, John Holloway, has now accepted that the warning should be "lifted with immediate effect".

Asked if the withdrawal vindicated staff concerns about victimisation, the university spokesman said that statutory appeal procedures had been followed, and "the university now considers the matter closed".

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