Manchester Metropolitan University professor suspended over email criticising bosses
October 18, 2012
A professor has been suspended after sending an email criticising university bosses.
Psychologist Ian Parker has been banned from Manchester Metropolitan University’s campus after being accused of gross misconduct.
But nearly 3,000 students and academics from around the world have signed a petition calling for the veteran lecturer to be re-instated.
Prof Parker, who is internationally recognised for his research, has been suspended on full pay.
Bosses took action after he emailed colleagues, including his line manager, questioning the way in which senior staff had been appointed. The message is not thought to have contained offensive or abusive language.
It is understood that MMU is treating the incident as ‘insubordination’ and failure to comply with reasonable management instructions.
Prof Parker, who has had his email account frozen and is barred from contacting colleagues, told the M.E.N. he was unable to speak about his suspension.
The academic, who is understood to deny any misconduct, has worked at the university since 1984.
Leading academics – including philosopher Noam Chomsky – have written letters of concern to vice-chancellor Prof John Brooks.
PhD student Hannah Berry, who has helped organise the campaign, said: “He is a great professor and really cares about the students.
It was a huge shock. Students weren’t given any notice about what was happening. It now seems he has been accused of insubordination, which is basically disagreeing with a more senior member of staff. The university seem to be completely unaware about the impact it will have on the students he supervises.”
A date for Prof Parker’s hearing has not yet been set.
An MMU spokesman said emergency measures were taking place to ensure students were not affected.
He said: “A professor has been suspended in accordance with the terms of disciplinary procedure, pending an investigation into allegations of gross misconduct. Clearly, students will get no advance warning of a suspension but it is not true that students have been left without support in our colleague’s absence.
“His PhD students have been offered alternative supervisors while undergraduate teaching is being covered by a team of academic colleagues. Evidently, this can be a stressful situation, particularly for students with an allocated supervisor, so we are doing everything we can to support all the students academically and pastorally.”
Credit : Manchester Evening News