Wronged zoologist demands public apology

March 17, 2000

One of Britain's leading scientists faces legal action from a colleague after an Oxford University internal inquiry ruled that he could resume his duties.

Roy Anderson, Linacre professor of zoology, had been suspended pending an investigation into allegations that he had wrongly accused a senior zoologist, Sunetra Gupta, of having attained her post as a result of having a sexual affair with a professor.

The internal inquiry closed last week after Professor Anderson sent written apologies to Dr Gupta, the new reader in epidemiology, and Karen Day, another senior zoologist who alleged he had been "offensive and intimidatory" towards her as a member of the appointments committee.

An Oxford University spokeswoman said: "The matter has been resolved and (Professor Anderson) is returning to his

full teaching and research duties."

The announcement of Professor Anderson's return prompted a meeting of 26 senior members of the department of zoology, including several Fellows of the Royal Society, unanimously to pass a vote of no confidence in the incident's resolution and protest to the vice-chancellor.

While Dr Gupta declined to discuss the matter, her solicitor May Macpherson, an employment law specialist at Henmans who is also representing Dr Day, said her client was now considering taking legal action for defamation.

My clients wish to make it clear that the 'private and confidential'apology signed by Professor Anderson is not acceptable," she said.

Professor Anderson will not return to his post as director of the Wellcome Trust centre for the epidemiology of infectious diseases until after a separate joint investigation into the centre's management.

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