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Issue 1759 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

College responds to Union request for “clarity” following bullying inquiry

Chair of College Council John Allan and Provost Ian Walmsley responded to the letter earlier today to address the key concerns from the Union about the bullying inquiry.

Screenshot 2020 12 09 At 1339 07


in Issue 1759

Following an independent inquiry into bullying allegations against senior College leadership, the Union’s Officer Trustees sent an open letter to Imperial College on December 7th calling for transparency. Chair of College Council John Allan (pictured) and Provost Ian Walmsley responded to the letter earlier today to address the key concerns therein, including a request to release the contents of Jane McNeil QC’s report. 

The report published from the investigation included a compilation of witness statements and corroborations, conclusions to the extent of allegations against President Alice Gast and Chief Financial Officer Muir Sanderson, and recommendations for the organisation and the individuals involved. 

In their letter, the Trustees expressed the view that students “deserve to know” about the severity of the allegations, “especially if they contribute to a culture which permeates the institution”. They went on to request that a redacted version of the report be made public, and that the College outline the specifics of the report’s recommendations. 

The College declined to release a redacted version of the report, stating that “all disciplinary processes of this nature are kept confidential” and that “it is never the case that we publish disciplinary investigation reports”. It also declined to elaborate on the nature of any specific allegations, simply describing a “dysfunctional culture” and “bullying of staff members”.  

However, the College’s response did attempt to reassure students that all the report’s recommendations had been accepted and were being implemented, including ones covering actions to improve management and – perhaps ironically – transparency. Mr Allan and Professor Walmsley outlined planned “operational and cultural changes” to the organisation, including aligning executive committees with Council committees and improving work relationships through community forums and HoD lunches. They also said that they “welcome the opportunity” to discuss the next steps with the Union’s representatives. 

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