Whistleblowers: Salford faces race inquiry

March 26, 2004

Salford University is facing close scrutiny from race equality watchdogs after it emerged this week that a registrar responsible for equality and diversity is the latest member of staff to make race discrimination claims.

The Tameside Racial Equality Council this week confirmed that after reviewing a number of allegations, it would represent three former members of Salford staff in race-related legal claims.

The REC declined to comment further as the cases are going through the legal process, but The Times Higher has learnt that one case has been brought by Andy Lei, the assistant registrar responsible for diversity and equality, who resigned last month.

Mr Lei declined to comment pending his case, which will be heard in July.

Another unfair dismissal claim is due to be heard in May, and a third has already been heard and a result is imminent.

A fourth case lodged at the tribunal has been withdrawn.

Michael Whitley, legal action officer at Tameside REC, said: "At this stage, the details are confidential because they are all lodged with the employment tribunal."

Racial tension has been running high on Salford campus. Tony Wentworth, youth leader of the neo-Nazi British National Party, is a second-year student.

Despite a previous suspension from the student union for his role in an alleged assault, Mr Wentworth is standing for the post of student union communications officer - which would make him editor of the union newspaper. The result of the election was due as The Times Higher went to press.

In a separate case, it is understood that Desmond Penrose, a black Salford student who won a visitorial case against Salford for "unfair" treatment during a disciplinary hearing, has complained to the police about being racially abused by a security guard.

A spokeswoman for Salford said: "It would be inappropriate to speculate on individual cases at this time. The university employs more than 2,500 staff, meaning the three cases represent just over 0.1 per cent of the workforce.

"We are totally committed to the active pursuit of our equality and diversity policy, which addresses the need and right of everyone to be treated with respect and dignity.

"Our student complement of nearly 1,800 includes individuals of every politcal persuasion. The university aims to create conditions whereby prospective or existing students and staff are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of any irrelevant distinction."

  • London Metropolitan University racially discriminated against a black library assistant and victimised him further by disciplining him for complaining about racism, according to a London employment tribunal.

In a decision last week, the tribunal said that Conan Henry was discriminated against when he was called to a performance review. He was then victimised under the terms of the Race Relations Act when he was given a disciplinary warning for making allegations of racism.

A spokesman for London Met said: "We are unable to comment because we intend to appeal."

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