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UCU welcomes news that suspended Warwick professor has been cleared

21 October 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

A University of Warwick professor suspended earlier this year has reportedly been cleared of any wrongdoing after a high-profile investigation.

UCU welcomed the news, but questioned why the case had been allowed to drag on for most of the year and said the university had serious questions to answer.

Thomas Docherty, professor of English and comparative literature, was suspended in January and in July was charged with undermining the authority of the former head of the English department.

Although the university is still to confirm the outcome of the internal tribunal, Times Higher Education has reported that Professor Docherty is to be cleared of all charges against him.

UCU regional official, Anne O'Sullivan, said: 'It beggars belief that an academic can be suspended with no contact with students or colleagues for almost a year while charges are finalised. The one thing this protracted process should ensure is that the University of Warwick looks closely at its internal procedures.

'There is clearly the need for a better structure to deal with these kinds of issues and to ensure that academics have a speedier form of redress. Academic freedom is a key tenet of our universities and staff should not be worried for their careers if they wish to speak out about matters of concern.'

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