Two sides of the argument

THES reporters round up some of the latest industrial tribunal cases in universities and colleges

Two lecturers accused of "gross misconduct" claim they did not get a "fair trial" from college managers, writes Tony Tysome.

David Harris, former social sciences reader at the College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth, was sacked in April after a media studies head complained of "harassment and bullying".

He said complaints against him and senior media studies lecturer Nigel Mace, who faced a disciplinary hearing for "gross misconduct" yesterday, began after they raised concerns about quality and objected to the reorganisation of a media studies course.

Dr Harris, whose appeal for reinstatement is being backed by the Association of University Teachers, also claims the college failed to follow its own disciplinary procedures. He said problems started eight years ago when the media studies degree course, which is validated by Exeter University, was made more vocational. Concerns about standards were raised then and in February last year when a teaching quality assessment gave a low grade for curriculum design.

David Triesman, AUT general secretary, said: "It strikes me as very strange when harassment and bullying is claimed to be done by junior members of staff. I think what we have here are two people who have raised issues quite properly, and they have been persecuted for it."

Dr Harris claimed the principal John Rea had both presented and heard the case. A college spokesman said: "Following a full and proper hearing under the college disciplinary procedure, a member of staff has been dismissed for gross misconduct. An appeal against that decision is scheduled to be heard next week." He declined to comment on Mr Mace's disciplinary hearing.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Featured Jobs

Head of Research Support Services UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
Learning Enhancement Manager UNIVERSITY OF DERBY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Universities to scale back liberal arts and social science courses

  • David Humphries illustration (24 September 2015)

A Russell Group tagline rap is further proof that we need to reform the academy’s approach, argues Philip Moriarty

  • World University Rankings

US continues to lose its grip as institutions in Europe up their game

  • World University Rankings 2015-2016 methodology

Change for the better: fuelled by more comprehensive data, the 2015-2016 rankings probe deeper than ever

Inspired by previous movement in 1960s, PhD students say that ‘science is not neutral’ and urge scientists to confront their assumptions