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Sunday, June 26, 2022

BREAKING: Christ Church conflict with Dean resolved

Isaac Ettinghausen reports on the conclusion of the mediation between Christ Church and its Dean.

Christ Church has confirmed the successful conclusion of the conflict with Rev Martin Percy, the College’s Dean, who has agreed to step down.

The four-year conflict has seen two internal tribunals, student protests, and an intervention from the University’s chancellor. This morning, Cherwell released the confidential decision of a 2021 tribunal over sexual harassment claims that had been levelled at Percy.

In a statement emailed to members of the college’s JCR, MCR, and SCR, the three leaders of the governing body known as the ‘Censors’ wrote: “A process of mediation has been taking place to try to resolve a number of outstanding issues between the Dean of Christ Church and the Governing Body. This includes an allegation of sexual harassment made against the Dean.” 

It continued: “Christ Church can now confirm that the mediation process has been concluded and that a resolution has been reached that is acceptable to all parties. The Dean has agreed to step down, voluntarily, from his role as Dean of Christ Church, and the individual who made the allegation of sexual harassment against the Dean has agreed to settle her claim on terms which on her request are confidential.”

A statement made by the complainant ‘X’ said: “The Dean has always denied this claim. He has also denied that he victimised me including after I brought Employment Tribunal proceedings against him.

“I have to accept, incredibly reluctantly, that it is my word against his that the incident took place. I am acutely aware that this is a situation faced by many women who bring complaints of a sexual nature. Sadly, the various processes that have followed have not altered this situation. However, I want to acknowledge that Christ Church, to their credit, has always supported my right to make this complaint.”

“I know what I experienced on that day and I want to ensure that no other student or member of staff has to go through the ordeal that I have. I am pleased that the Dean has agreed to step down from his role at Christ Church and, in return, I have agreed to settle my outstanding claims against him.”

The email further confirmed that the college would commision a “comprehensive review of its policies and procedures in relation to sexual harassment to be led by an independent expert.”

The complainant wrote: “I am reassured that Christ Church has begun the important work of ensuring that its practices and policies provide the best possible support and protection for all members of its community. I will be working with Christ Church to ensure that whatever changes they adopt take into account my experiences.”

“I sincerely hope that in some way this will help to ensure that other students and staff avoid the distress that I have experienced.”

Image Credit: Dmitry Djouce / CC BY 2.0

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