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JMU 'dogged by macho culture' says professor; Academic claims unfair dismissal.

Byline: BY RICHARD DOWN Daily Post Staff

A PROFESSOR claims she was dismissed after blowing the whistle on mismanagement at a Liverpool university "dogged by macho culture".

The former director of Liverpool John Moores University's language school, Prof Linda Archibald, made the claims at an employment tribunal yesterday.

Prof Archibald, who was at the university for nearly two decades, told the hearing that she had been bullied and undermined as the university carried out a restructuring programme.

She said: "I've lost my health, career and soon I will lose my home as well as my most valuable possession, my reputation."

The 50-year-old academic alleges she was subject to sexual discrimination and eventually given compulsory redundancy from her pounds 62,000- a-year job, in December, 2006. It all followed her blowing the whistle on massive institutional problems, she said.

The lecturer said: "There were phantom students, wrongly registered students, visa problems and students of dubious immigration status and fee problems.

"It was frustrating to see spreadsheets with one or two students on them when I had just come from teaching these classes in which there were 15."

She went on to say there was "growing secrecy about faculty finances and any data produced created very huge levels of error."

She added: "There was a cavalier attitude towards academic rules and that overspending was rife and noone had a grip on realities."

In addition, she said, staff were working without approved contracts and the dean, James Kirkbride, was mismanaging the faculty.

Prof Archibald told senior human resources officer Julie Lloyd of her concerns.

She told her: "I'm in a desperate situation here. I'm in completely uncharted waters and am very uncomfortable."

Mrs Lloyd asked if she could pass on her concerns to the director of finance, and added that Prof Archibald should talk to the Vice Chancellor, Michael Brown.

Yesterday, Prof Archibald said: " I told the vice chancellor that the financial irregularities and the cavalier, macho culture of some senior staff was like a juggernaut heading for a wall."

The tribunal heard Prof Archibald allege that it was impossible to hide the fact that the Dean, James Kirkbride, was showing no interest in helping to deal with the situation.

Prof Archibald said: "It looked like he (Prof Kirkbride) was setting us up for a fall."

She said that what followed was a serious of obstructions which prevented full details being disclosed of what was planned for her faculty until she had gone on holiday.

Suddenly, she told the court, the school of languages was axed and widespread redundancies were on the cards.

After mediation failed, she was made redundant in December, 2006, and overlooked for other teaching and management jobs, she claimed.

The tribunal is set to last for another nine days.

richarddown@dailypost.co.uk

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Prof Linda Archibald - claimed there was 'growing secrecy about faculty finances'; James Kirkbride
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2008
Words:479
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