Pembroke tutor returns to work following death of student

first_imgOxford University has confirmed that a Pembroke tutor whose employment was ‘terminated’ following the suicide of a BPhil student has been reinstated. Dr Jeffrey Ketland won his job back following a successful appeal.Ketland was suspended after an inquest into the death of student Charlotte Coursier heard that he sent her “crazy and rambling emails”. The pair had become romantically involved after meeting at Edinburgh University but ended the affair before they moved to Oxford. She then began a relationship with Ben Fardell. Coursier later reported Ketland to Thames Valley Police, who issued him with a warning under the Harassment Act on May 22. During the inquest Fardell described Ketland’s treatment of her as “abuse” that “made an already fragile girl even worse.” Coursier’s body was found by her housemates at her home in East Oxford on 10th June.Coroner Darren Salter concluded that it was “clear from the evidence that Miss Coursier had previous mental health problems and had suffered from depression, [including] suicide attempts by overdose. She also had suicidal thoughts in 2012, according to her GP.” He added, “the main factor in Miss Coursier’s death appeared to be her break-up with Mr Fardell.”Salter noted that following the warning there was no further contact between Coursier and Ketland and “Miss Coursier believed the situation with him had been remedied.” He also confirmed that Ketland tried to alert the police to his fears for her wellbeing.The University came under fire in the aftermath of the inquest for its handling of Coursier’s complaint, having allegedly told her “not to go to the faculty on days when he was lecturing” rather than immediately suspending Ketland.Anna Bradshaw, OUSU VP for Women, told Cherwell, “OUSU is working with the University to bring in a revised university harassment policy in Michaelmas Term. Hopefully, this policy will make the procedure around complaints of harassment much clearer. This does not, of course, alleviate the frustration of many students in this case, but I believe that the new policy will help to prevent this sort of disappointment in future.”Ketland first met Coursier in 2008 when he was working at Edinburgh University. In February 2009 she overdosed on paracetamol and he took her to A&E. The next month she sent him a birthday card saying, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you. You have been a wonderful friend.”In Autumn 2010 Ketland started an affair with Coursier. It ended after a few weeks when he called police, saying she had assaulted him. In November 2011 he applied for a job at Oxford; Coursier subsequently applied to study there. He said he was so concerned she was stalking him that he became ill and needed treatment for stress.Speaking of the University’s enquiries earlier this year, Ketland said, “the prosecution ignored my evidence, detailed email documentation, a police incident note concerning an assault against me, application records, and eleven witness statements, covering the period November 2008 up to the present. As of mid-April 2014, I am terminated from Oxford. The reasons stated amount to this: that I told a student to stay away from me and then responded to her refusal to do so; that I pointed out to a witness at Oxford her harassment of me while it was happening; and that I complained to Oxford of false allegations being made against me.”Jacob Williamson, a former Philosophy student, told Cherwell, “We know the University conducted a review, but students were informed neither of its precise nature nor its findings. We also know there was later a termination or suspension of some kind, but students were not directly informed of this and we do not know the reasons for it. It is sadly unsurprising, then, that the details of the successful appeal are equally opaque. At no point has justice been seen to be done.”In response, a spokesperson for the University said, “The University does not normally comment on matters pertaining to individual employees for reasons of confidentiality.“The University has acted with care and in good faith throughout.”last_img read more

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