Thomas Docherty case: students and alumni drum up online support

The University of Warwick has been ridiculed on social media for its suspension of the prominent critic of higher education policy

August 1, 2014

Source: Alamy

A Facebook page called ‘Warwick students, alumni & friends in support of Professor Thomas Docherty’ has attracted hundreds of “likes” since it was set up last week.

The page was created after Times Higher Education revealed that Professor Docherty, a professor of English and comparative literature, was being charged with undermining the authority of his head of department.

He has been suspended since January, and as a condition of his suspension is not allowed contact with colleagues or students, and has been prevented from attending an event at the university and writing the preface to a book.

A second disciplinary hearing in the case was due to take place today, with a final hearing due to take place in September.

Part of the evidence against him is that he sighed, projected negative body language and asked “ironic” questions while interviewing candidates for a position at the department, THE understands.

This has been mocked on the Facebook page using an internet meme based on a scene from the Lord of the Rings films along with other pictures that ridicule the case.

The page calls Warwick’s suspension of Professor Docherty “outrageous”.

“We believe this trumped up case is being used by Warwick University to silence dissenting voices,” it says.

A number of former students have also posted praise for Professor Docherty’s teaching on the page.

Warwick has refused to comment on the case and the reasons for Professor Docherty’s suspension, except to deny it is connected with his political views.

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Reader's comments (1)

Which dictatorship ever admitted that they are persecuting their ideological opponents? All public funding to Warwick should be suspended for ten months until an investigation on how much tax-payer's money is being spent to censure the academic members of this "University" can be carried out. Meanwhile, as insubordination to a former head of school is one of the things Thomas Docherty is being accused of, perhaps readers should start asking how some heads of school behave and whether insubordination becomes a moral obligation for any academic who respects their title. Here is one story in another University a few miles to the East…