Glasgow University medical students ‘sidelined, minimised and ignored,’ claims professor

Professor says university is failing staff and students …Dr James Going

Dr James Going was teaching at the University of Glasgow until last month.

A professor who raised concerns about misogyny and discrimination at Glasgow University has accused the institution of a cover-up.

Dr James Going has told BBC Scotland that women in the school of undergraduate medicine were sidelined, minimised and ignored.

He spoke out after the university apologised for behaviour that “fell short” of high professional standards.

Last week the University of Glasgow said it “must do better”.

It said an internal inquiry at the undergraduate medical school found that no individual was responsible, but apologised to any staff and students who had been subjected to distressing incidents.

However, Dr Going, who stopped teaching at the university in October, said he was dissatisfied with the response.

He said: “I feel that the university is failing itself, failing its staff, failing its students by not confronting behaviours which were probably unacceptable in 1922 and are certainly unacceptable in 2022.

“We have a situation in which there is very good reason to believe that women in academic roles in the medical school are being treated differently to males in comparable roles. The university has said that an inquiry into this behaviour has been undertaken. The findings of that inquiry have been kept confidential by the university.

The University of Glasgow has apologised for gender-based bullying and discrimination

Dr Going said he had become aware there was a problem through colleagues’ experiences.

A year ago he wrote to the head of the college of life sciences to support a colleague who was “being adversely affected by these negative behaviours” and to express concern at what he understood to be going on.

He said: “Essentially we are talking about women, and people in quite senior roles with a strong academic background, having managerial decisions made relating to their employment without their knowledge, essentially without their consent. Important roles being taken away, given to others with no reason given and no significant alternative roles being offered.

“I would characterise it as undermining. There also was emerging, I understood, a culture in which women were sidelined, minimised, their contributions quite frequently ignored, even to the extent of being talked over in meetings.”

‘Kept findings secret’

He added that the university appeared to be a “slow learner”.

“Many organisations have learned in the last few years that cover-ups do not work,” he said. “The only thing cover-ups do is make a situation worse.

“The university in attempting to pretend none of this was happening, has made this situation a great deal worse for numerous individuals within the school of medicine and I think it is time for them to learn the lessons so many organisations have had to learn, instead of trying to pretend that nothing bad is happening and there is nothing to see here.

“I think it would show good faith on the part of the university if they would allow others to see what the findings of their internal investigation were. They have kept these findings secret and I think that speaks volumes.”

students at Glasgow University
An internal inquiry was launched after complaints were made.

On Thursday, Professor Matthew Walters, head of the university’s school of medicine, dentistry and nursing, said: “We are committed to ensuring that all staff and students feel safe, supported and free from discrimination or abuse.

“We recognise that we must do better. I am determined that we work in a school that promotes treating each other with kindness, with dignity, and with respect. “

Professor Walters said the university’s action plan included training for staff and an external team developing a progressive and inclusive culture.

The school will also relaunch its equality, diversity and inclusion committee.

Professor Walters added: “I speak for all senior colleagues when I say that I am sorry that any of our staff or students have been subjected to unwelcome, unacceptable behaviour and distressing incidents.”

In July 2021, Glasgow University was criticised for its handling of sexual harassment complaints and was the subject of a BBC Disclosure investigation.

One comment

  1. Is this the same Glasgow University who has appointed Kezia Dugdale a chair as a professor despite her having done no academic research papers, no PhD as the norm.

    No surprise with poo bah political appointments like this that this old institution is not what it seems.

    Bullying, mysoginy, cronyism appointments, just another example of falling standards.

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