We can now share a document that was related to the many travesties of process at Goldsmiths. We have removed names, though it is likely some will be able to identify who is who – we ask them not to personalise this, but recognise that deep injustices were perpetrated and in ways that relied upon untruths and fictions.
London, October 13th 2014
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
I am writing to you in order to make an official complaint as to the ways in which I have been treated and my name has been used, while an employee of Goldsmiths, in the College’s dealings with the case against Prof X and the circumstances surrounding the non-renewal of my Associate Lecturer contract in the Media and Communications department at Goldsmiths.
I am appalled to now discover that these two processes are apparently connected due to some kind of collusion, intentional or not. Over the course of the past year the actions of the college, management, and colleagues in CCS and in Media and Comms have caused me significant distress, affected my mental health, made me the subject of demeaning gossip and recrimination and ultimately led me to losing my Associate Lecturer job. I expect a thorough investigation into why and how the situation explained below was allowed to happen, as well as an apology and disciplining of those who have perpetrated these attacks in their own interest.
The existing ‘fair’ process/procedure of dealing with complaints at Goldsmiths meant that though my name has been dragged through the mud to further a complaint against Prof X (whom I have absolutely no reason to complain about) by my supposedly ‘feminist’ colleagues, I was not able to address these concerns until now. Having sought legal advice, I now seek explanation, an official apology and renewal of my contract / compensation from the college. Although I would like to continue in my role as AL in Media and Comms, it is now evident that a number of staff and colleagues there – such as Prof Y, Prof Z, Prof A and AssocLect/Student B – were authors of or were privy to the information included in the report against Prof X, and have been involved in the process in the first place. I am aware that other complainants have kept their jobs and/or received compensation for distress, while I have not. Instead I am denigrated, humiliated and have been used as collateral by staff and colleagues in their campaign against Prof X.
As a former student of CCS I was not a direct participant in the initial case against Prof X, the subsequent actions of support towards him, nor the subsequent complaint about the treatment of CCS’ PhDs made by Student C et al, the details of which you are aware of. However, since colleagues decided to use a misrepresentation of my person, I was equally affected by the bullying, ostracising and stigmatizing actions of those who initiated the campaign against Prof X, including the subsequent online and offline bullying by the complainants and the virtual exclusion – up to and including the non-renewal of my contract – from university life at Goldsmiths. This has had a negative effect on my own PhD / academic work, mental health and general confidence. The sheer fact of being associated with Prof X in this way caused me months of upset, during which I was unable to speak out.
At the time of the initial complaint against Prof X, I was distraught to hear from other students and AL’s in Media and Comms that I had sexual relations with Prof X while still an MA student, in order to secure higher grades, and that I was mentally unstable. Among others, I heard this from one of the main complainants – AssocLect/Stud B, now a Media and Comms student and employee who has managed to keep her job. Subsequently I was contacted by a member of CCS staff, Dr. D, via Facebook. Dr. D stated that if I wanted to make a complaint about Prof X it was the time to do so.
This was at the time when the ‘story-gathering’ process against Prof X began. This was deeply hurtful and damaging, and I replied to the message stating clearly that I had no interest in making a complaint. Despite this, it appears that the complainants still felt it necessary to use me their complaint – against my wishes and in a bullying manner – justified by the fact that I was supposedly unstable mentally.
I realise now that supposedly ‘feminist’ colleagues were using me and exploiting an invented version of my supposed involvement with Prof X as a way of furthering their complaint. While claiming that I was a ‘victim’ of Prof X in the report, they were simultaneously spreading malicious gossip about me on and beyond Goldsmiths campus.
The report and individual accusations against Prof X were at the time confidential, but as you are now well aware the complainants have distributed their side of the story widely, and in gossip far and beyond their Goldsmiths-based ‘feminist community.’ This was one of the bases of the complaint by C et al, but I could not sign it, as I was not registered at CCS anymore (although I was employed by Goldsmiths). During the long period in which this process was ‘confidential’ I was not able to see in full or protest the contents of the report pertaining to me, nor was I able to address the malicious gossip distributed about me. I was made a victim of this ridiculous witch-hunt by association, while those accusing Prof X continue to claim they aim to safeguard women from abuse at Goldsmiths, which in itself is appalling and only adds insult to injury.
Being involved into this situation against my will has damaged my relationship with colleagues at Goldsmiths and elsewhere, as well my supervisors. It put me in an impossible and humiliating position of having to defend/explain my relationship history to employers, colleagues and near strangers at conferences in order to refute claims of insanity. I was forced to defend my having received a distinction for my MA dissertation, which was completed before I got to know Prof X (I had never been taught by him). The implication was that I could not have gained this distinction based on academic merit alone.
As an aside: the dissertation, interestingly, has been supervised by Prof E and Dr D. Dr D has had an official relationship with one of E’s and Dr F’s PhD students, and previous to that Dr D had been involved with Prof E himself, while all three were working at CCS. The fact that it was Dr D who subsequently contacted me privately about my supposed relationship with Prof X is offensive to me. I do not bring all this up in order to add to the harmful gossip already in circulation, I do not wish that. Rather, I want to show the hypocrisy involved in this situation, whereby staff members can encourage complaints about supposed types of behaviour that they themselves are engaged in. It demonstrates that CCS staff were actively involved in soliciting this complaint for their mutual benefit.
It is unacceptable that the College has not contacted me officially in this matter, while I was in employment and in and around the campus / area. I am appalled that I can only now refute the claims put forth about me by colleagues. Surely the college has a duty of care to their own employees and/or supposed victims in a situation like this? I feel wronged, and I feel the college has failed me here.
I now can only conclude that several members of staff – including Prof E and Dr D – were actively involved in furthering the complaint, in which they were happy to implicate me (although no testimony has been officially sought from me,) whilst benefitting directly from the outcome. Of course, since then Prof E has been promoted, and he and Dr D remain close. I, on the other hand, by being associated with X, am being recriminated and have lost my job.
Following months of this apparently confidential campaign against Prof X, into which I have been unwillingly entangled, and which has made me by association a victim of an ongoing campaign of lies, rumours and slander on the part of my peers and colleagues in both Media and Comms and the CCS, I have now also lost my job in Media and Comms. Prof Y informed me my contract would not be renewed, citing the fact she has had to ‘draw a line in the sand’ when asked for reason for redundancy. This was said in a meeting attended by a UCU rep. No other concrete reasons were given.
Simultaneously, other Media and Comms employees in circumstances identical to mine have kept their jobs, including for example AssocLect G, who herself told me of her circumstances when I asked. Other Media and Comms employees, with arguably fewer years of service and less experience and expertise than me, have kept their jobs. AssocLect/Stud B, who was one of the complainants against Prof X, who was one source of these malicious rumours about me, and who has fewer years of service than me, has kept her job. B, and others who kept their contracts in Media and Comms and beyond, were as it turns out already involved in the group gathered around Prof A – who facilitated the complaint against Prof X – a group that continues to spread information regarding the complaint on social media and in their meetings, at times publicly naming those involved, which only adds to my distress.
Finally, as if the above were not enough, it appears that Prof Z., the head of department who made the decision not to renew my contract of employment, was party to the complaint against Prof X – alongside, in one way or another, A, Y, E, D, B, H etc. She was also involved in the case of C, my closest friend from whom I sought advice when the rumours first started surfacing and the process against X had begun.
It is now clear that several days before termination of my contract, and you can consult C’s account on this, Y was forwarded C’s confidential testimony. (She should not have received that testimony, and the college admitted and compensated for this appalling act of bullying already). I am referenced in that testimony, and it is now clear to me that this mis-handling of confidential material has lead to my termination. The fact that the college could allow someone with an active interest in this complaint to also have responsibility for the employment or those involved is extremely worrying. The fact that I wound up on the ‘wrong’ side of this appallingly mishandled process against Prof X was made clear to Prof Y days before the termination, which makes me strongly believe that all of the above factors have been at play in the college’s treatment of me.
I have not only been stigmatized and recriminated as X’s associate and excluded from the intellectual life of the university as a direct result of management and the college’s actions, but also had my contract terminated by one of the persons central to the actions against Prof X. The information and concerns I shared with my colleague C, and which he had submitted to you in utmost confidence and in concern for my situation, has been shared with Prof Y, who was responsible for my contract negotiations and is close to the original complainants. All these colleagues have now gathered in a clique around the Feminist Research Centre founded by Prof A, and are known to blog and live-tweet information about the process. I now also fear that I have been/will be misrepresented elsewhere by the complainants, and in their at times public discussions of the case against Prof X. I am concerned that the college also might have distributed this kind of information to others without my knowledge.
To sum up: I have been involved, by the College, management and colleagues, in the case against Prof X without my knowledge and against my wishes; I was contacted informally by a member of staff based purely on gossip, and no official contact, nor any steps to ensure my well-being on the part of the College followed. This resulted in me becoming the subject of more (and on-going) malicious gossip and slander, causing me significant distress and negatively affecting my health and work, and resulting with a virtual exclusion from university community. Finally, I have been made redundant, lost my job and good name, as well as having had (and continue to have) my competences and mental health questioned. All this based purely on gossip, and the fact that my person appeared inconvenient to those involved in the initial proceedings against Prof X. Prof Y, who was involved in dealing with the other case, was allowed to also make decisions regarding my employment contract.
Now that all of the above has come to light – no doubt because of the College’s own confidentiality clause/policy and mishandling of the situation – I demand a thorough investigation into why and how the situation explained above was allowed to take place. Further, I think there should be disciplinary proceedings initiated against all those who have misused my name in proceedings against Prof X. As resolution, I would expect at minimum an apology for the distress caused, as well as reinstating my contract / compensation for the neglect, discrimination and bullying I have faced at Goldsmiths College.