An English professor who was suspended for sighing, unfriendly body language, and using irony was reinstated after the administration’s charges against him were dropped, Inside Higher Ed reports.
The head of the University of Warwick’s English department, Catherine Bates, had accused Thomas Docherty of disrespecting job candidates during interviews by “projecting negative body language,” making “ironic” comments, and sighing. The witnesses who were going to testify against him planned on doing so via anonymous statements, thereby making it impossible for their accounts to be cross-examined.
While suspended, Docherty was prohibited from contacting any of his colleagues on campus, or even writing a preface for a new book in the Warwick Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities series — a series on which he served as an editor.
Docherty had written about the declining faculty role in governing the university, and it is believed that these works are what led the administration to target him. The university, however, denied that accusation, telling Inside Higher Ed that “[t]he university has received the decision of the tribunal established to consider complaints made against Professor Thomas Docherty by another senior employee. The university has accepted the Tribunal’s findings. The university has committed not to make any further public comment on the proceedings at this time so as to assist any follow-on discussions to take place. Professor Docherty welcomes and reciprocates that commitment.”
Docherty did, however, issue one final public comment to the Facebook group created to support him: