Warwick staff want stalker code

November 15, 1996

Union leaders at Warwick University have called for more advice and protection for staff faced with harassment after a student was found guilty of stalking her former lecturer this week.

Senior members of the Association of University Teachers branch at the university say that stalking has not been written into Warwick's anti-harassment code, despite being raised on several occasions in meetings between the union and university officials.

Robert Fine, a 50-year-old senior lecturer, won a High Court injunction banning his former student Eileen McLardy from harassing or approaching him.

The judge ordered Mrs McLardy not to go within 200 yards of Dr Fine's home where, he had heard, she daily stood peering in the windows. Mrs McLardy was also ordered to pay Pounds 5,000 damages to Dr Fine for the "stress and strain" she had caused him.

The judge said: "She has conducted a vendetta against Dr Fine, and the reason for it seems to me because of a frivolous complaint against him of sexual harassment. When that was rejected she seems to have embarked upon this course of conduct."

An AUT spokesman said: "Stalking is an issue which has been raised on several occasions as requiring particular attention. But we have not been able to make the degree of detailed progress we would like."

The university's guidelines on harassment do cover areas like "suggestive remarks", "physical threats" and "unwanted contact". The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals says it believes its code on student discipline, adopted by many institutions, covers many aspects of stalking. But the AUT said it hoped that universities and union leaders would consider the issue of stalking more closely. A Warwick spokesman commented: "It seems sensible that there should be a dialogue on these questions."

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