No gagging order of day at Portsmouth

October 26, 1995

I really must correct your reporting of various events at Portsmouth (THES, 13 October13). An industrial tribunal found in favour of Mrs Tall, the former vice chancellor's secretary, in her pursuance of a claim for constructive dismissal. Your report suggested that the university "is refusing to reinstate her". Having won her case, Mrs Tall did not pursue a case for reinstatement but instead agreed financial compensation.

Your report refers to the "enforced resignation" of the former deputy vice chancellor. Jeremy Lever QC in an extremely thorough analysis of events at Portsmouth came to the clear conclusion "that Professor Pickering chose to leave under the terms of a compromise agreement, when he could have stayed."

I must also correct the impression that the university wishes to impose any "gagging conditions" on the report of the independent inquiry carried out by Mr Lever. Having taken appropriate legal advice, the report has been made available to the entire university community and to others with a legitimate interest in its contents.

The board of governors on receiving the report in mid-September, immediately resolved that it should be published as soon as possible, provided appropriate legal protection was put in place.

The publication of the report of the independent inquiry will undoubtedly contribute to a debate within the university which has focused on the governance and management of the institution. That debate has been open and constructive and without doubt will lead to improvements in the way in which the university operates in the future.

M. Bateman

Acting vice chancellor University of Portsmouth

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