CW: Sexual harassment

In response to an open letter from English students in which they outlined their concerns regarding the Al Jazeera report into sexual harassment at Oxford, the Board of the Faculty of English told students that Professor Orchard is not teaching students at undergraduate or Masters level by mutual agreement. The Faculty added that they are “in individual discussion with research students about their supervision arrangements”, as the Professor Orchard has been employed by Oxford on a research project since 2013. 

Andy Orchard has been employed by the University on a research project since 2016. He has also previously taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of Toronto. He is a fellow of Pembroke College. One allegation claimed that during a previous post Orchard told them, while drunk, “I’m going to fire one last shot of testosterone across your bow”. 

The letter by the Faculty of English, sent to all students reading the subject, stated that the University, Division, and Faculty are “in the process of setting up a meeting with student representatives to discuss the issues raised” and “explain what is and is not possible in this case”. 

The Faculty adds: “The purpose of this meeting will be to make sure our Faculty’s opposition to sexual harassment is as strongly embedded in the culture as it can be.” 

The Faculty made it clear that there are “legal impediments in publishing specific formal statements of the kind [the students] may be hoping for” from the open letter.

A panel, led by the Director of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, Dr Nicholas Perkins, will also be convened to conduct a review of processes on how the Faculty deals with harassment complaints. 

The letter also listed the University’s resources for reporting harassment and the ways in which students can access welfare support relating to harassment. 

“Conversations are ongoing, and we are committed to making sure that we can all learn and teach in a safe environment. We welcome your active engagement in these conversations.”

Image: Emmy b./CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This article has been updated at 11:10 on 29 October to clarify Professor Orchard’s position, and provide further context to an allegation.


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