Promotion hopes dashed

July 16, 1999

Campaigning Cambridge lecturer Gill Evans has not been put forward for promotion this year despite the fact she was deemed good enough to be nominated last year, has published four more books meanwhile and has received higher assessment grades than ever - including top marks for teaching and "contribution to knowledge".

Cambridge's promotion procedures state that all decisions must be "in accordance with the principles of fairness and natural justice". Several "third parties" have warned that her vociferous campaign to reform procedures precludes her from a fair hearing:

When Mr Justice Sedley granted Dr Evans leave for a judicial review in 1997 he warned that Dr Evans "has made herself... possibly unpopular in certain quarters of the university by her campaign".

After independent mediation of Dr Evans's dispute last year, appeal court judge Sir Brian Niell said she should have an independent panel to consider her applications for promotion to prevent bias.

In 1998, Cambridge's governing council acknowledged that under "Nolan-type principles", an independent panel for Dr Evans would ensure fairness. It was never set up.

A member of the faculty committee considering Dr Evans's application last year, declared an interest, but sat in judgment. He had been subject to a formal complaint by Dr Evans in 1983. This year he withdrew from considering her case after two of three promotion committee meetings.

This year seven academics from outside Cambridge wrote to the vice-chancellor warning that as "third parties", they perceived bias against Dr Evans.

Phil Baty

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