Whistleblowers

May 25, 2001

Sacked lecturer Janet Enever has been reinstated at Nottingham Trent University following an outcry over the way she was treated. The THES reported earlier this month that Ms Enever had been formally disciplined by her head of department, Marianne Howarth, despite the intervention of the university's equal opportunities chief, who warned that the action would be against the spirit of the university's anti-bullying and harassment policies.

Ms Enever had been with the modern languages department less than two months when she was summoned to a disciplinary meeting with Professor Howarth. She faced four key charges, which she denied, and was found guilty after apparent procedural breaches. She was sacked without an appeal last month.

But this week, the university confirmed that after negotiations with Ms Enever's trade union, Natfhe, she had been reinstated. "The reinstatement will be for a period of three months and will be facilitated by a mutually agreed internal mentor. Subject to her successful reintegration within the department the mentor will be withdrawn at the end of this period," a university spokeswoman said.


Cambridge bows to campaigning lecturer

After 13 years of rejection, campaigning Cambridge University lecturer Gill Evans has been put forward for a promotion to a professorship with her university peers acknowledging that the merits of her case are outstanding.

Dr Evans has spent the past decade on a campaign for reform of the university's procedures for promoting academic staff, which she has complained are unfair and secretive.

After repeated failure to secure promotion, she has argued that her campaign, which has included a number of acrimonious legal battles against the university, had all but ruled out an unbiased consideration of her case.

This week, it emerged that the history faculty promotions committee has recommended Dr Evans for promotion, recognising that she occupies "a unique position and international stature in modern scholarship". The committee awarded her top marks in seven promotion criteria, recognising "clear evidence" of original research, intellectual leadership and an international reputation for scholarship.

She boasts more than 150 refereed journal articles and 40 books, with 16 published by the Oxford or the Cambridge university press. Dr Evans will have to wait until November this year for final confirmation of her promotion, when her application, and the faculty board's firm recommendation, is considered by the central university promotions committee.

The recommendation follows years of inconsistencies and procedural errors in the university's handling of her case for promotion. In 1999 and 2000 the faculty committee did not put her forward, although it deemed her good enough to be put forward in 1998.

Last year, an appeal body upheld Dr Evans's complaints that she had been treated unfairly. The appeal board said the faculty committee had breached its own rules and broken the principles of natural justice when it decided not to put her forward. It had failed to consider all the relevant documentation, as 1998 references were missing, and to take account of the multidisciplinary nature of her work - which centres on medieval history and theology - by consulting experts. It was also established that the committee considered her case for promotion despite concerns that there were potential conflicts of interest, as so many history faculty members had been involved in personal disputes with Dr Evans.

Dr Evans told The THES this week: "If it is true that I have a unique place in modern scholarship, I should have been promoted years ago. Or they are now being insincere for political reasons. Either way, promotion to a Cambridge chair is discredited."

"The big question," she said, "is whether the second-stage committee will find an excuse not to promote me."

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