August 26, 2009

Elimination ritual...

Dear Madam or Sir,

I have spent two and half years as an Assistant Professor of English at XXX University in Northern XXX. My first year at XXX was challenging and pleasant, while the remaining year and half was a living hell, complete with harassment, sexual harassment, physical intimidation, false charges, false testimony, perjury and the obstruction of justice. It has been a long process, with some triumphs and some defeats. Eventually, as in all bullying stories, I was forced to leave. A year and a half after leaving XXX I am still trying to come to terms with my horrible experience there.

I am appending my story in the hope that it might be of use to other people who undergoing similar experiences. I would also be happy to communicate with other victims in order to share experiences and offer comfort and motivation:

In summer 2005, I was hired as an Assistant Professor at the department of English Literature and humanities in XXX. I arrived in XXX in August 2005 and worked hard and with great expense to relocate my family to Northern XXX while preparing well in advance for the coming school year. The school year began with great turmoil on campus resulting from a fierce labor dispute. A number of promises that were made to me in a hiring letter were not kept, and I was unable to receive a working contract until February 2006. As soon as the school year began, one faculty member in my department resigned and left immediately, and the number of students that I was teaching doubled. At the same time the department chair announced that she was resigning as well, sending the department into a perpetual crisis. Instead of complaining and looking for a different job, I was grateful to work at XXX and had said so at every opportunity.

I volunteered to serve my department at every opportunity and did my best to be a helpful, friendly and supportive colleague. I volunteered for every committee (including a conference and a hiring committee for which I prepared the call-for-papers and job announcement respectively), and when the chair wanted to restructure the MA program I was happy to conduct research for this project as well as to contribute my experience and ideas, most of which have been incorporated into the restructured program proposal. When the chair asked for urgent faculty help in coordinating a large proposal for a translation laboratory that was due within four days I volunteered to accomplish the task and had a good report on her desk before the deadline. When the department was desperate to produce on-campus events I volunteered to give a poetry reading. At the chair’s request, I prepared two new versions for the departmental web page.

I maintained good professional relationship with both faculty and students, and I continuously received good students’ evaluations as well as occasional notes from students thanking me for my work and for my help. When students sometime complained, I worked closely with the chair to solve their problems and have always deferred to the chair’s judgment.

I have also done well at XXX academically. During my time there, I added a number of academic publications to my CV. I presented new research at the ACLA conference in Mexico in April 2006, and I was recommended by XXX as an expert in English Language and Humanities for the European Union’s FP7 project. I was nominated as an advisory board member of the University’s Women Studies Center and associate editor of the journal, Women 2000. In Spring 2007 I have organized a campus visit and lecture by a renowned scholar.

During my first year at XXX I approached the chair periodically to ask how I am doing and if there is any area in which I should improve. Without exception, the response was always positive. I was complemented for the quick way in which I adapted to living in Northern XXX and working at XXX. The chair observed one of my classes towards the end of the fall semester and complemented my teaching. The chair has found me a devoted employee and supportive colleague and included me, not only in professional activities, but also in social activities in the department. Sometime in April I was recommended for a continued two-year contract.

It was within a month since that recommendation that the tables turned. Sometime in May 2006, and for reasons that are completely unknown to me, the department chair and my colleagues in the department began to hate me with a passion. From that point on I was continuously harassed, my work was being continuously sabotaged and I was even physically intimated at one time. I was “punished” with a “silence treatment” and barred from departmental activities, faculty meetings, equipment, important memos and even the department’s Christmas party. At one point, the entire faculty (except me) was asked to submit a list of courses that they would like to teach in the following semester. At some point, the chair announced again that she is “resigning” but in fact did not leave her post. As a “perpetual non-Chair,” she has been using the ambivalence of her position to persecute me with renewed vigor. I was no longer allowed to say “hello” to the chair, and have been verbally and physically abused when I tried to do so. I had no access to the department’s office, and could only enter the department's mail room, using my key and avoiding the secretary desk. The Chair had also organized students, asking them to sign a petition against me. When I complained about that, the petition was simply put away, placed secretly in my personal file to be used against me at a later time. The chair also asked the faculty members in the department to sign a petition to have me removed from the department. Six men, whom I have never hurt, some who have been my friends, and who have absolutely no reason to hate me, signed this document without thinking twice.

On December 28, 2006 I had to lodge a formal complaint at the XXX police station after the chair’s husband physically threatened me in my office. I complained bitterly to the university’s administration about the Chair’s treatment and her behavior against me. Eventually, the Chair did leave the department and I believed that my difficulties were over. A new chair and a new faculty Dean were appointed, and I was told that the slate was cleaned, that all of the Chair’s previous complaints against me were dismissed, and that everyone will now strive to work together harmoniously. I was delighted and have again done everything to contribute to the department in faculty meetings, committee work, and socially, as I was now able to talk with colleagues, join them for lunch, etc. I was extremely careful to avoid any misunderstandings, and when I thought that I erroneously hurt someone, I apologized immediately. I was determined to patch things up and put past trouble behind me. I went to an international conference in Mexico in April where representation from Northern XXX was highly appreciated, and at the conference, I arranged for a renowned scholar to come and give a talk at the department. I published another book review and sent an article for publication.

Unfortunately, these efforts were neither appreciated nor reciprocated. My situation in the department remained consistently intolerable. I was still isolated and unable to receive basic services from the department. I did not have a working university computer since November 2006, and I could not receive professional collaboration from my colleagues. And my colleagues used every opportunity, either in committee work, exam invigilation or other professional opportunities, to create altercations and disrupt any possible working relationship.

In fact, as I found out on April 30, while I was trying to be professional, courteous and helpful, my colleagues have been keeping a close watch and reporting through gossip, innuendos and semi-official complaints on my "behavior." I was confronted by the new department chair by a list of silly, petty, and sometime simply untrue complaints. I told the chair that if harmony is to be achieved in the department, the effort should be made on both sides. I asked him to communicate this to my colleagues and try and affect some peace in the department. When he failed to do so, I wrote a letter to my colleagues, urging them to put last semester’s events behind them and to make an effort to work together harmoniously.

But the chair had done nothing to assist me, and in fact turned my complaints against me. I was harassed again. A student who attended two of my classes “suddenly” began to disrupt and sabotage classes, as well as harassing me through emails and phone calls. My complaints to the Chair, the Dean and the University's Disciplinary Committee were “strangely” ignored, and I was even presented with a list of “students’ complaints:” that I was looking at my watch during the lesson, that I was penalizing students when they are late for class, and that I was “forcing” them to buy the reading materials for the course. It was laughable, but again, for “strange” reasons taken very seriously.

In May 2007, I finally complained again to the university’s administration about being harassed by my colleagues. I was first told by the vice rector that the problem should be solved “in discussion with the chair and the dean of the faculty.” I told him that I welcomed such a discussion, but no conversation ever took place. One day later, the chair of the department filed disciplinary action against me.

My complaint was completely ignored. The Chair’s complaint, however, was a thing of beauty. The students’ complaint that they were forced to come to class on time and buy class materials disappeared. Instead, alongside a number of petty accusations (some completely false) were finally the contents of the student petition that the former chair organized in November 2006: The former chair had organized the students in my gender studies class to complain that I have been discussing sexual content! The charge was not only completely ridiculous (why does the university have gender studies classes in its curriculum if it forbids sexual context? Why wasn’t I ever notified of such prohibition (which does not exist)? Why wasn’t I ever consulted with while teaching the class?). It also smacked of bad faith and was illegal according to university rules. Any complaint must, according to university rules, be dealt with within 60 days. This complaint was lying in wait for six months (!). It was prepared in November and presented to me in May. There wasn’t a disciplinary committee in the world that could find me guilty. That is, none other than the disciplinary committee of XXX University, which was set to convict at all costs.

The charges, presented to me on June 18, were made by an investigator who never discussed them with me, and on the basis of evidence that I have never seen and testimony by witnesses that I do not know and whom I did not have an opportunity to ask any questions. The date of the hearing was set for June 21, only three days (!) later. My requests to have legal and/or union representative present, to meet and question witnesses and see the documents on which the charges are based, and specific dates and necessary details for understanding the charges were flatly denied. Only after my lawyer's intervention, I was given more time to prepare a defense.

But the committee had no interest in hearing (or reading) my defense. The committee members first refused to listen to my defense, and when I insisted on presenting it, they interrupted me, made deprecating comments about my arguments, and expressed disinterest and impatience with a response to the charges that I worked very hard to prepare. When I rose from my sit to hand out documents to the committee, I was reprimanded for standing up and ordered to sit down again. Afterwards, the chair of the disciplinary committee rose from his sit and stood next my chair, close enough to touch me, and disrupted me while I was talking. I was forced to ask him to sit down and keep an appropriate distance from me. I had to ask the committee repeatedly and sometime forcibly to “be quiet” and listen to me. I needed to raise my voice and fight hard to present my defense. Even so, I was only able to deliver a part of my defense, and the disciplinary committee seemed disinterested in the parts that I was able to make them listen to.

The committee, not having heard, read or considered any of my arguments, sentenced me to six months suspension without pay, throwing my family and me into poverty at a moment's notice and at the end of the summer when the prospects of finding academic employment are nil. My wife, our four-year-old daughter and I found ourselves in an impossible situation, with nowhere to go and no immediate prospects of income or employment.

To prevent me from complaining further, it was communicated to me unofficially that the disciplinary committee had also access to further complaints, which I have not seen or heard. When I was told of some of these complaints, I found that I could answer them and provide documents and witnesses to prove that they are not true. But since I was never asked about them (and since the disciplinary committee had never listened to any of my arguments), I was unable to defend myself. Furthermore, these complaints were still kept as a threat against me, as they are kept in stock to be pulled out later in the same way that the complaint from November 2006 was used in May 2007.

Nevertheless, I appealed the committee’s decision, as I was preparing to take the university to court. I decided that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting back against an institution towards which I have shown nothing but good faith, and received none in return. In August 2007 I had also sent letters to the Higher Education Council and the Ministry of Education in XXX, the Union of European Universities, UNESCO and the Embassy of my country in XXX and in XXX. I asked for their advice and opinion on the ridiculous charges that the university made against me – which I was not embarrassed to quote. In fact, it was the university that should have been embarrassed, and it certainly was! The same officials who dismissed me like a piece of trash were now in panic. Even though I stopped short of fully denouncing the university or writing to newspapers, the university's vice rector was outraged. He had also made a quick deal to clear my name, refund the money that was already deducted from my salary, and put me back to work until the end of the semester, at which point I agreed to leave XXX. If I was to be left to work in peace until the end of the semester and to leave XXX without further hassles at that time, I agreed to write no more letters, and not to embarrass the university further by telling the truth about the way it behaved towards me.

I was quickly cleared of all the charges and was put back to work, this time teaching different courses in a different department. My colleagues also asked that I will be moved to another office. As I was told, their feelings against me were so strong that they could not bear to look at me. I wasn't surprised. How could they look me in the face after what they have done? On my part, I certainly had no intention of packing all my books and moving to another office only to move again after four months. As to the fact that seeing me reminded my colleagues of their crimes and unethical conduct, I was only sorry to realize that they will forget all about it as soon as my back is turned. I simply ignored them and carried on with my work.

Nevertheless, this was a difficult semester. My wife and daughter left XXX in the summer. They settled in with my mother in law, in my wife's childhood bedroom, sleeping on a double-bed on the floor. Unprepared, my wife was now a single mother, working full time and taking care of our child by herself. Her mother, helping as much as she can, is old and needs some attention herself. They managed bravely. But it was hard. As for me, I was missing them, living by myself, teaching classes that are not in my field, and spending time in a criminal university that continued to treat me horribly.

I was denied a standard pay raise that is given to all faculty members at the beginning of each school year for no other reason than that the chair of my department "doesn't want to give it to me." I was continuously pushed by the administration to move to another office… even one month before the semester was over. And although an agreement with the university has been reached in September, the vice rector just couldn't help himself from trying to trick and cheat me further. I was asked to place a resignation letter in trust, which would go into affect as soon as I receive everything that was promised me by the university. This included no compensations or special privileges. Merely a letter of reference, a letter of clear record, and everything that all exiting faculty receive: paid leave, airline ticket and assistance in receiving the money accrued in a trust fund throughout one's time at XXX. But the trust was broken. The faculty member who was supposed to hold on to the letter betrayed me and gave it to the administration. They, on their part, had no intention of treating me fairly even for a second. Two weeks before I was supposed to leave XXX forever, I received no cooperation on any of the things that I deserved merely by virtue of being someone who had worked in the university for two and a half years.

I realized that this was indicative of only one thing. That the vice rector who persecuted me forgot the temporary rage and embarrassment that he felt in August 2007, as I was telling the entire world of his and the university's unprofessional, unethical, criminal and disgusting behavior. A few days before I left XXX, I simply walked into his office and reminded him that I am still capable of sending letters to international newspapers and the press. I have certainly said the magic words. Within hours, checks were cut, letters were written and forms were signed. I received everything that I have asked for, and have left through XXX airport with an unimaginable sense of relief. Certainly, fairness, good management or even legality mean nothing to XXX officials. However, the prospects of public embarrassment obviously mean everything to them.

My story with XXX is not completely over. Even though I am back with my family, teaching elsewhere, and enjoying a life without hate, racism and corruption, I am still angry with XXX. My colleagues, who believe that their crimes of harassment, sexual harassment, physical intimidation, false charges, false testimony, perjury and the obstruction of justice are expunged as soon as my back is turned, are wrong. Their crimes do not disappear merely because they are not punished for them. Their crimes remain crimes, and they remain criminals.


August 23, 2009

Workplace Bullying ‘Epidemic’ Worse Than Sexual Harassment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Workplace bullying could cause more harm to employees than sexual harassment, researchers say.

Belittling comments, exclusion from outings and criticism of work may seem relatively benign and get brushed off by business higher-ups as “kid’s stuff.” But the consequences to employees and even the bottom line are far from child’s play.

“Organizations don’t realize that just rude behaviors, ongoing discourteous types of behaviors, have such negative effects on employees,” said Sandy Hershcovis, assistant professor of business at the University of Manitoba, who is presenting research here today at the Seventh International Conference on Work, Stress and Health.

The meeting was co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.

“Unless you’re in the situation you just don’t understand,” Hershcovis told LiveScience. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh it’s just a personality conflict, they don’t really mean it.’ But when you’re in the situation – and many of us have been – it’s pretty horrible.”

Bully prevalence

The Workplace Bullying Institute found in a nationally representative poll last year that 37 percent of the U.S. workforce, or 54 million employees, have been bullied now or some time during their work life.

“Anything that affects 37 percent of the public is an epidemic. But it’s a silent epidemic,” said Gary Namie, Director of the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash.

Evidence from several research fields, including law, communications, business management and psychology, are revealing the hardships that targets of bullying face, and they ain’t pretty.

“Targets of severe workplace bullying are suffering from physical and psychological conditions that would just drive even the strongest of us into the ground,” said David Yamada, of Suffolk University Law School in Boston. Yamada chaired a presentation session here on workplace bullying.

Bully consequences

Hershcovis and Julian Barling of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, reviewed 110 studies conducted over 21 years and involving the consequences of workplace aggression and sexual harassment. The research duo focused on 12 consequences, including: job satisfaction, co-worker and supervisor satisfaction, job stress, intent to quit, psychological and physical well-being, anger and anxiety levels, withdrawal from work and level of commitment.

Bullying is just one form of so-called workplace aggression, which the researchers divided into categories:

  • Incivility: rudeness and discourteous verbal and non-verbal behaviors.
  • Bullying: persistently criticizing employees’ work; yelling; repeatedly reminding employees of mistakes; spreading gossip or lies; ignoring or excluding workers; and insulting employees’ habits, attitudes or private life.
  • Interpersonal conflict: behaviors of hostility, verbal aggression and angry exchanges.

Compared with sexually harassed workers, employees on the receiving end of raging-boss behaviors and other forms of workplace aggression reported lower overall well-being, less job satisfaction and less satisfaction with their bosses; they were also more likely to quit their jobs.

Specifically the bullied employees reported more job stress, less job commitment and higher levels of anger and anxiety than did sexually harassed employees.

The upshot

The review results by Hershcovis and Barling suggest that bullies can wreak more havoc on a company than can sexual harassment.

“I want to make sure that’s not misinterpreted to mean that sexual harassment didn’t also have negative outcomes; it did,” Hershcovis said. “It’s just that bullying was worse.”

Some explanations for the findings include the fact that sexual harassment is illegal.

“There is a legal outlet to victims of sexual harassment,” Hershcovis said. “Organizations have policies in place to prevent and deal with it. That ability to voice may give employees who experience sexual harassment some kind of hope.”

In addition, since sexual aggression is illegal, the victims may be more likely to blame the perpetrator and not themselves, as can happen with workplace bullying, Hershcovis said.

Bully ban?

Beating up the bully may succeed on playgrounds, but inside the business world success is not so clear-cut. For one, often the bully is the boss or other manager, and so fighting back could cost a job.

While some countries, such as Sweden, and places like Quebec and Saskatchewan have implemented some form of anti-bullying workplace legislation, researchers here agree the United States has done little in the form of anti-bullying laws. Corporations in the United States also lack policies for preventing or dealing with workplace aggression.

Employers ignore bullying because they can. Its legality is what gives them the license to ignore it,” Namie said during his presentation at the conference.

Following in the footsteps of sexual harassment, however, bullying could gain enough awareness for legal action.

“Where we are now with workplace bullying is where we were with sexual harassment maybe 15 years ago,” said Suzy Fox of Loyola University in Chicago, “before we had key court cases, before we had the major Anita Hill blow-up.”

In 1991, Hill, a law professor at the time, came forward with accusations that Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. And like sexual harassment, workplace bullying needs a clear definition, Fox noted.

“Bullying is often more subtle, and may include behaviors that do not appear obvious to others,” Hershcovis said. “For instance, how does an employee report to their boss that they have been excluded from lunch? Or that they are being ignored by a coworker? The insidious nature of these behaviors makes them difficult to deal with and sanction.”


August 17, 2009

Mobbing as a factor in faculty work life - Composite Story of a Mobbing

...But despite your hopes, things do not improve. You are no longer chosen for committees. The department chair neglects to call on you when your hand is raised in meetings. And when you attempt to offer comments without raising your hand, you are called out of order. When you offer suggestions, your colleagues roll their eyes. If you disagree with the prevailing departmental view, even politely, you are shouted down. This explains why, during department meetings, your heart pounds, your hands tremble, and sweat runs down your back...

Read the complete story.

August 13, 2009

Immigration whistleblower was unfairly dismissed

An academic registrar at the UK branch of an Iranian university was unfairly dismissed for blowing the whistle on alleged immigration irregularities, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has found.

An earlier tribunal had already judged that the process under which Heidi El-Megrisi was made redundant from her post at the Islamic Azad University was "essentially a sham".

In November 2006, Ms El-Megrisi sent a memo to Ahad Bagherzadeh, pro vice-chancellor of the Oxford-based branch and now its vice-chancellor, expressing concerns over the immigration status of some members of staff. The memo led to a meeting with Alireza Assareh, at that time the institution's vice-chancellor, on 5 December. Some weeks later, Ms El-Megrisi was made redundant.

A tribunal held in 2008 said: "We have come to the clear and unanimous conclusion that the reason for the claimant's dismissal was not due to redundancy and, indeed, that the professed 'redundancy situation' was a manufactured means to disguise the real reason for the claimant's dismissal."

The university had dismissed Ms El-Megrisi because it saw her as a nuisance who would not "willingly undertake the questionable tasks ... that were assigned to her", it said.

However, last year's tribunal did not uphold Ms El-Megrisi's claim that she was unfairly dismissed for making a "protected disclosure" - in effect, whistleblowing.

It said that although the memo of November 2006 was a protected disclosure, it was not the principal reason for the dismissal as she had a history of difficulties with Azad. But in a judgment handed down earlier this year, the appeal tribunal criticised the earlier decision for failing to take into account the fact that this history "largely consisted of other protected disclosures".

In correspondence with senior staff during 2005 and 2006, the registrar claimed she had been asked to write a letter to the immigration authorities falsely stating that Dr Assareh's son was a student at the university. She refused to write the letter, she said, which led to her being viewed as "unhelpful".

In another exchange with a senior colleague, she alleged that there were "irregularities" surrounding the issue of a work permit for a senior manager, which caused her "great concern". In later correspondence, Ms El-Megrisi also referred to concerns over Dr Assareh's work permit.

The first tribunal should have considered whether the cumulative impact of these allegations resulted in the dismissal, the appeal tribunal said. It concluded that this was the case. However, it did not alter the £16,000 award made to Ms El-Megrisi in 2008.

A university spokeswoman said: "At the culmination of a long hearing of the issues, the employment tribunal (in 2008) found the vast majority of the claims to be unfounded, including claims for sex and race discrimination and equal pay."

The spokeswoman added that the university "felt that the (initial) tribunal's judgment that there had been no protected disclosure by Ms El-Megrisi was correct".


7th International Conference on Workplace Bullying and Harassment

The streams are not meant to be prescriptive or limiting in any way and if you consider that you have an abstract that does not fit within any of these streams, you are very welcome to submit the abstract and suggest a more relevant stream.

* Bullying and Harassment
* Corporate Social Responsibility / Morality / Ethics
* Dignity at Work
* Discrimination
* Emotions
* Health and Wellbeing
* Interventions
* Industrial Relations
* Law
* Leadership
* Management
* Mediation / Counselling / Conflict
* Methodology
* Organisational Culture
* Power
* Role of Practitioners
* Whistleblowing
* Workplace bullying / Mobbing
* Workplace Cyber-bullying

More info at:

August 10, 2009

A sad day...

A workplace bullying charity has shut down after 15 years because of a lack of funding.

The Andrea Adams Trust, which was established in 1997, closed on Friday (31 July) after its funding arrangements became unsustainable.

In May, the charity was forced to scrap a £65,000-per-year national awarness campaign to ban bullying at work after some of the UK's largest companies ignored pleas to provide funding.

Lyn Witheridge, founder and chief executive of the trust said: "It is time for the Andrea Adams Trust to pass on the baton, and I urge other organisations who share our passion in the fight against workplace bullying to continue with our work.

"Recognition of the effects of bullying in the workplace is essential if it is to be legitimately challenged, which can only be achieved through persistent effort to raise awareness of this insidious practice."

Lead partners for the 2008 National Ban Bullying at Work Day, which had run for six years, were Royal Mail and Amnesty International.

Witheridge said Royal Mail had pleaded poverty when approached for funding, and accused other firms of "jumping on the bandwagon" and treating the tackling of workplace bullying as a box-ticking exercise.

Research last year estimated that workplace bullying costs employers almost £14bn a year and leads to 33.5 million working days lost.

August 06, 2009

City University vice-chancellor Professor Malcolm Gillies forced out

The Vice-Chancellor of City University London was forced to resign because of “differing views on matters of governance” with the university council.

University sources said that Professor Malcolm Gillies had been keen to secure more resources for frontline teaching and research but that his plans had been hampered by a university board made up mainly of business figures and lawyers.

Professor Gillies, who was appointed Vice-Chancellor less than two years ago, will continue as Professor of Music until January.

The university council said it had "mutually agreed" with Professor Gillies that he should step down with immediate effect.

They said that the board was staffed mostly by business figures and lawyers, while Professor Gillies came from an academic background.

In the past ten years the number of employees at the university has rocketed but the proportion of teaching staff has fallen. Professor Gillies was apparently keen to secure more resources for frontline teaching and research.

One member of staff said: “We’re devastated by the news. He was always keen to hear people’s opinions - both staff and students. Many of the academics will be deeply disappointed and upset. He was universally felt to be good for the university.”

Apurv Bagri, the acting chairman of the university council, said: “Malcolm has played an important role in the growing success of the university and, together with council, he has ensured a strong focus on the core activities of education and research.

“We thank Malcolm for his hard work and wish him well for the future.”

Professor Gillies said in a statement: “City University London has proven a model for several other institutions. It has a great body of staff and students and virtually every indicator is now pointing upwards. Long may that continue."


August 03, 2009

MPs single out whistleblower case for scrutiny - UK

A cross-party committee of MPs will highlight the plight of an academic whistleblower in a major report on higher education to be published this weekend.

Walter Cairns, a law lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, claimed that he was scapegoated by the institution after giving evidence about alleged grade inflation to the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (IUSS) Committee.

He was ejected from Manchester Met’s academic board after he wrote to tell the committee that marks on a course he taught were raised because its failure rate, 85 per cent, was too high.

His case will come under detailed scrutiny when the committee publishes the findings of its nine-month inquiry on students and universities this weekend.

Speaking to Times Higher Education before the report’s publication, Phil Willis, chairman of the committee, said the way Manchester Met handled Mr Cairns’ revelations “took the whole committee by surprise”.

“Because of the range of issues that were brought to our attention, the case at Manchester Met was of sufficient gravity that it required us to investigate it as a specific issue in our report,” he said.

In his written submission to MPs, which concerns a course he taught in 2004-05, Mr Cairns states that marks were changed without his consent despite initial indications from an external examiner that his marking was appropriate.

The university issued a robust defence, saying that it had followed correct procedures and that the abnormally high failure rate reflected poor teaching.

Following coverage of his evidence in Times Higher Education, Mr Cairns was in March dismissed from Manchester Met’s academic board after a vote of no confidence instigated by John Brooks, the vice-chancellor.

The university said Mr Cairns had failed to use the appropriate procedures to raise his concerns.

Mr Cairns has since been re-elected and will attend board meetings again from October.

Mr Willis said: “Academic freedom is a very important principle, which the committee has considered very carefully during the inquiry, and indeed will be making specific recommendations about when it reports.

“Our main concern is to have the highest possible quality of higher education that we can afford and deliver. Part of that is preserving the right of academics to whistleblow when they wish to question standards in individual institutions. Our concern was that when whistleblowers gave evidence to the committee, their evidence should be protected. They should not be punished.”

The select committee report will be published in full on Sunday, when analysis of its findings and recommendations will be made available on Times Higher Education’s website.

Mr Cairns said the select committee had informed him that the report would cover the issues he had raised, as well as the “ructions” that followed. He said he welcomed the report and hoped it would be hard-hitting.

“I will be extremely disappointed if the IUSS committee takes no concrete action on my dismissal from Manchester Met’s academic board,” he said.

Mr Cairns added that he hoped the issue would be referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Standards and Privileges.