Tutor Jeffrey Ketland ‘terminated’ after harassment case

Dr Jeffrey Ketland, a Pembroke Philosophy tutor who, according to an inquest in February, sent ‘crazed and rambling’ emails to BPhil student Charlotte Coursier last year, who committed suicide after breaking up with her boyfriend, has been ‘terminated’ from Oxford, according to a statement posted on behalf of Ketland on philosophy blog Leiter Reports (http://leiterreports.typepad.com).

In the statement, Ketland criticises the way Oxford handled the situation, writing, “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.”

The statement in full reads as follows:

“I knew Ms Charlotte Coursier, formerly Ms Charlotte Marklew, since 2008 at the University of Edinburgh. In June 2011, on graduation, she emailed me, “you are still the person who saved my life and my degree!”. I applied to Oxford in 2011, she in 2012. During her time in Oxford, concerns about her welfare were reported to the Faculty, but, as far I as know, were ignored. Following her suicide in June 2013 after her boyfriend ended their relationship, Oxford conducted an inquiry into her death which concluded in October 2013. At that time the University told my College that my involvement in the matter was a minor affair, and the Coroner’s office had provided repeated assurances (until a week before the inquest) that my name would not be mentioned.

However, behind the scenes a group of graduate students, including some of the signatories of the Open Letter of 5 March 2014 had been campaigning the University to have my contact with students suspended and me fired. My supervisions were reassigned, my seminars were postponed and then reassigned to my College, with the lead author of the Open Letter boasting about this on Facebook. My wife complained to a College Principal about the distress and intimidation she felt her family were being subjected to.

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From late 2013, Oxford proceeded with a prosecution, involving failures of due process and proportionality, despite the support I received from my College and several members of the Faculty. 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. 

For the time being, I do not intend to comment further on the case.”

The University and Pembroke College declined to comment.